When I’m surrounded by nature, I find peace, connect with the universe and feel the best. I can’t help but start to think about everything from a different perspective- how long will I have to enjoy being here on Earth? What kind of future am I helping to create for my kids, their kids, and down the line?

When I’m out on a trail in the wilderness, it makes me so mad when I see trash, graffiti, or other ways humans have and are disrespecting our planet. I do my best to clean up after others, but I think education and awareness is also a huge part of it. We are stewards of the planet. It’s our responsibility to take care of it.

Here are some things to think about when you go out in nature, to help preserve our planet and all the beautiful wild places:

  1. DON’T LITTER & PICK UP TRASH ALONG THE WAY. I always bring a bag to stuff trash in while I’m out, and if I forget, I just use my backpack. Random trash ruins the beauty of a place, pollutes, and causes harm to the ecosystem that can last for decades and more.
  2. STAY IN/ON DESIGNATED AREAS. Sometimes people will see a photo on Instagram or Pinterest in an amazing location and feel the need to recreate it. But sometimes that specific are has been closed due to too many people doing exactly that. Please respect the authorities who know what’s best for that environment! If there are signs that say to keep off of certain areas or to stick to the designated trails, do it! These signs are there for a good reason, and it’s just not worth ruining it for a pretty picture or whatever else.
  3. BURY YOUR HUMAN WASTE. Last year I was hiking on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It’s a remote place, full of stunning landscapes and a very old energy. And there was toilet paper and human waste everywhere.  It was gross and sad. If you absolutely have to go when there isn’t a facility, do your best to bury it and don’t leave your papers on the ground!
  1. LEAVE IT WHERE YOU FOUND IT. Picking wildflowers, taking rocks, and otherwise removing objects from the landscape causes a lot of problems when tons of people do it. Entire ecosystems can be wiped out. So take a photo, but leave it where you found it.
  2. DON’T “LEAVE YOUR MARK”. There’s no need to carve your name in a tree or graffiti anything in nature. Take a selfie and get on with it.
  3. RESPECT THE WILDLIFE. Don’t feed the animals. Don’t approach the animals. Don’t stop in the road if you see some amazing wildlife. Be considerate and remember that wild animals are just that.

I’m so passionate about preserving our wilderness and natural areas for future generations. I want my daughter and her daughters to be able to enjoy the amazing places I’ve seen in my lifetime.

As photographers, we should be hyper-aware of the environment and our impact on it. And couples, make sure to do your research before insisting on including Earth-harming practices in your photo sessions.

For more information on ways you can have a minimum impact on our planet when enjoying the great outdoors, check out Leave No Trace.