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Monday, March 14, 2011

This Just Makes Me SICK!!!


A lot of people talk about nature and the environment. Even photographers tend to talk about "do no harm" or "take out what you take in" when they talk about going into nature to shoot photography. Photographers will wax eloquent on what to do when you go into the forest to photograph animals. We strive to keep away from juvenile birds in nests to keep from agitating them. We watch for aggravation signs that we are annoying bears or wolves because we don't want to end up as their next meal. We use blinds so that we can blend in with their environment so that we don't cause animals to get scared and thus prevent us from getting the shot "of a lifetime".

Yet how many of us stop to consider how much nature is in our back yard? Creatures that we share our neighbourhoods with also have to contend with our biased viewpoints of them. We set out traps for "pest animals" like raccoons, foxes, mice and rats. Some of us even use poison to keep away coyotes. And the wild animals also have to put up with the garbage that we so-called "caring, nature-loving" human beings produce.

I walk my kids to school every morning and I see mounds of garbage piled up by the side of the road. Paper cups, diapers, broken toys, candy wrappers, used prophylactics. Animals who have to live around us can get sick and quite possibly die from ingesting these bits of garbage while trying to forage for food. It shows that we as a species don't give a damn about other species that we share this planet with.

I have raccoons living in my back yard under the storage shed. I see their tracks every time it snows. I don't consider them as pests, but am grateful that they keep away other animals that could potentially harm my children. Occasionally they offer a photographic opportunity. I relish seeing the crows and robins that frequent the rooftop of my homes. I even enjoy seeing the seagulls which tend to crowd around the area looking for garbage. They may be more commonplace than the bald eagles or the blue herons but that doesn't mean that they aren't any less special or inspiring to see. What makes me marvel is that they have no fear; that they will practically walk up to you. That's the most astounding thing about the animals that share our neighbourhood.

So I challenge anybody who packs a camera who thinks of nature in such polarized views as "the wild animals" such as what you would find in the forest and "pests" such as the "wildlife" that you find in the neighbourhoods that you live open your eyes, see the beauty of nature for what it really is...and cherish the animals who share your life in more ways than just the pets. See the "annoying" crow for what he really is, a fine specimen of avian who enjoys human interaction. See the neighbourhood raccoon, not as the pest who dumps over the garbage can because we stupid humans can't put the lid on the garbage can properly but as a truly magnificent forager who has uniquely adapted to his new environment. Enjoy every interaction that you have with any animals, because if we didn't have these animals, the world would be a much worse off place than it is.

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