Public Lands Hate You: The anonymous account challenging social media influencers

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Author: Laura Ferguson

Social media influencers are being called-out by an anonymous online account for their disrespectful and damaging treatment of natural areas to get an “instagrammable” photo. Public Lands Hate You is challenging these influencers’ behaviour in a bid to stop the mistreatment of public land, although not everyone agrees with his methods.

 

Public Lands Hate You is targeting influencers mistreating outdoor spaces

Public Lands Hate You created a personal Instagram account in 2018 that has gained a huge following after posts relating to the trashing of flowers during the “Super bloom” in California last year went viral. Local authorities were forced to close Walker Canyon, the site of the golden poppies, when the small town was flooded with 50,000 tourists over the course of just one weekend. 

This is not the only example of an area of natural beauty being damaged by tourism and the new wave of social media trends are exacerbating the issue. With many high-profile influencers using popular public land spots for their latest Instagram shot, many have become concerned with not only the damage that capturing these pictures is doing to nature, but also with the message that it sends to their followers.

The creator of Public Lands Hate You, who remains anonymous after receiving threatening messages, believes that people need to protect public spaces, treat them with respect, and call-out anybody that doesn’t. He describes the goal of his creation on his website:

“The primary goal of Public Lands Hate You is education. We want people to be thinking about behaving responsibly before they even leave their house to visit our public lands.

“Public Lands Hates You started as a way to post the aftermath of people behaving badly, transitioned to posting pictures of people caught in the act, and is moving toward a more proactive, educational approach. That said, the original mission of publicly posting people’s bad behaviour will never go away.

“There needs to be some level of accountability for what people post online, and since there aren’t any environmental law police on the internet, we will continue to take things into our own hands.”

Although many influencers have responded positively to criticism and have edited their posts to spread awareness of the damaging effects of their actions on the environment, there has been a backlash from others who criticise his methods. 

Public Lands Hate You creator defends his approach though, believing that people ought to be accountable for their actions when it comes to the protection of outdoor spaces.

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The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace

The anonymous account supports the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace which provide guidance on how to share and enjoy public spaces safely and respectfully:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimise campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

 

Enjoy nature responsibly 

The damaging effect of human presence in outdoor public areas has been the focus of many local authorities in the past few weeks, with images of litter-strewn beaches and parks circulating on the internet. To protect the environment and safeguard the future of outdoor public lands it is important to ensure that we act responsibly when it comes to enjoying all that nature has to offer. 

With the increase of social media accounts dedicated to capturing outdoorsy shots, the risk of further damage to areas of natural beauty has arguably grown. However, as long as influencer photography falls within the parameters of environmentally respectful behaviour, it can be enjoyed by nature-lovers and will avoid criticism online from those working to protect public lands.

 

Featured Image: © Mathieu Olivares

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