My Favorite Planet

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Happy Earth Day, everyone! (The irony of celebrating Earth Day cooped up at home isn’t lost on me.)

If nothing else, COVID-19 has taught all of us that, as much humankind constantly tries to test the boundaries, Mother Nature is still very much in charge. I’m so fortunate to be able to make my living photographing this wonderful planet, but isolating in my office with nothing but memories and a few images of the marvels I’ve witnessed has opened my eyes. Having experienced the northern lights in Iceland, rainbows in Yosemite, lightning at Grand Canyon, and the Milky Way above the bristlecones (among many other natural marvels), puts me in a pretty good position to say that no picture can top being there. But after a lifetime of being there, and returning year after year and seeing firsthand how much damage is done by humans’ constant push for “progress,” I’m starting to wonder how much longer we’ll have a there to be.

But there’s nothing like a crisis to crystalize priorities. The whole point of Earth Day is to remind our planet’s inhabitants to care for our home, and never has that message felt so important. Ironically, as we humans suffer through this pandemic, Earth is thriving in our absence: Air quality is up, hydrocarbons are down, sea life is recovering, and by all accounts, wildlife is partying in our shuttered national parks. One lesson here is that the less humans interact with it, the healthier our planet becomes. That doesn’t mean that saving Earth requires never venturing out into nature. But here’s an analogy to try on: Your carpet will last decades if you never walk on it, but that’s probably not practical. But if you simply take your shoes off indoors and vacuum pretty regularly, you’ll extend that carpet’s life many times. So perhaps from now, as each of us uses Earth’s resources, whether that be consuming or just experiencing, let’s make an extra effort to tread just a little more lightly, and leave things just a little better than we found them.

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Earth: These are a Few of My Favorite Scenes

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7 Comments on “My Favorite Planet

  1. Thank you, Gary. Not only are your images eloquent, so are your words. But that makes sense: before you were a photographer you were a writer. And still are.

      • Thanks very much, Gary. Yes it is hard to believe. In many many ways I would prefer to still be in Iceland. If you have time, check my blog for Iceland pictures. Starts in mid January.

  2. What a beautiful collection of images-and thoughts.

  3. What a heartfelt message you have given all of us. Our earth certainly needs us to tread lightly. Thanks for using your writing talents as well as your photography to spread the word.

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