Earth Day

Each day during the week leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd, Nature First Ambassadors and Members will share their thoughts on Earth Day’s importance.

Contribution from Astrid Preisz, Matthias Conrad, and Xavier Arnau Bofarull, representing the German-speaking (DACH) countries:

We honor Earth and pledge ourselves to its protection. People all over the world join forces in activities to raise awareness for our environment.

Three years ago, on Earth Day 2019 Nature First was launched as an international initiative for responsible nature photography and it has spread all over the world since then.

Ambassador teams have joined forces in many countries and regions to help with the cause. The 7 principles of Nature First are universally valid. For us, the ambassador team of the German-speaking countries this means treating nature like a cherished friend.

Clean Up © Astrid Preisz 2022. All Rights Reserved.

– Prioritizing the well-being of nature over photography

means to actively strive to build awareness amongst our fellow photographers to treat nature as a friend whose health and well-being is important to us.

– Educate yourself about the places you photograph

means to do our best to get to know this friend, with all their vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and strengths. There is still a lot of work left to be done. Especially during COVID, people re-discovered the attractiveness of nature but without making an effort to learn what to observe when in the landscape.

– Reflect on the possible impact of your actions

means to ask ourselves if we would like to be treated the way we treat our friend. We think that only education and awareness-building can help. When people start asking themselves: ‘is this image worth the damage I might cause?’ we have made a step forward.

– Use discretion if sharing locations

means to respect our friend’s secrets and don’t share them with people who might cause harm. Lately, there have been heated discussions about location sharing in the German-speaking photography community. Shying away from these discussions doesn’t help; to be open and to have good arguments might.

– Know and follow rules and regulations

means to check in with our friend and ask: what do you want and need? And it means observing our friend’s house rules. National parks everywhere struggle with people not complying with rules, thereby causing grave damage to natural landscapes and wild animal habitats. We’re seeking contact with responsible people in parks to maybe help build awareness.

– Leave no Trace

means to treat our friend as we would treat a cherished home. Wipe or take off our shoes before we enter and not drop our litter where we stand. Littering is a big issue here, but we have also met people who selflessly clean up after others and educate by example. That’s the way to go.

– Actively promote and educate others about these principles

means to tell others about our friend and their needs, and make them understand how important they are for our friend’s survival. The German-speaking team is still new and there haven’t been many possibilities to actively get into personal contact with fellow photographers. But we’re dedicated. We strive for open discussions without pointing fingers at others, This will help to not only get their compliance but also their understanding and commitment.

There’s Earth Day, there’s the World Environment Day, there’s World Wildlife Day and there’s the World Migratory Bird Day, to mention only a few.

It is good that we have all these commemoration days to remind us of our responsibility towards the world we live in. They are not, however, what will save this world.

We abuse our environment and mistreat the creatures living in it. We exploit the Earth’s resources without considering future effects and thus cut the bough we are sitting on. For our own good, we need to wake up and realize that this planet is all we have. If we use up its resources – we die. With every species that grows extinct, mankind itself is a step closer to extinction.

Today is Earth Day! Let’s celebrate it! Let’s be active, let’s be visible on social media, with friends, and at work. Let’s lend our voice to the parts of nature that don’t have a voice of their own – the animals, the plants, the mountains, the rivers, and every single tree out there.

And on April 23, when Earth Day is over let’s not stop but continue being stewards of the world we live in, every single day.

Because every day is Earth Day.