Why the Internet is Both Nature’s New Blessing and Curse (Or, a Thank You)

So before the summer I gave a TED talk. It was about a lot of things. I mentioned this blog, and also Project Noah, and a lot of things that had been bothering me for some time, and some things that had been giving me hope, too.

But there’s no point repeating my speech here, because now you can just watch it. If you want.

It was, I think, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, or at least the past year – to talk to people, and maybe have them listen, which is kind of what I’ve been trying to do with this blog as well. And it showed me that I can care about these kind of things – a rainforest in my school, a really, really cool black rhinoceros, ladybugs half-way across the world, that my passion, to some extent, was justified – that maybe, just maybe, I can go somewhere with this, even if that place might just be buried in the depths of the Costa Rican jungle. (Actually, please, bury me in the depths of the Costa Rican jungle. THERE IS NO ‘JUST’ ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS.)

So thank you, all of you readers, and browsers, and people who stop by just for a second before going past again, because you are what brought me up there, on that stage, allowed me to talk, and maybe have some people listen.

I’m going to keep doing this for sometime yet. ūüôā

Pic of the Day

The greatest collection of wildlife photographs of all time. What would say it was? Instagram, #animal? A Facebook birding group? WordPress, #nature?

The answer is none and all: in short, it is National Geographic’s Great Nature Project.

Aimed at promoting biodiversity and the love of nature across the world, all you need to do to participate is to upload a photograph of nature to a social media site and tag it #greatnature – summed up in its tagline of ‘See It, Snap It, Upload It’. With over 350,000 photographs of things ranging from black rhinos to insects the size of a fingernail, they broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Online Album of Animal Photographs easily. I’ve been participating in it for a while now through Project Noah, a sort of social media for wildlife, and its associated mission, and yesterday got a comment on one of my spottings announcing that it would be featured as the Great Nature Project’s Pic of the Day on some as yet undetermined future date.

The Pic of the Day is selected from the thousands of images uploaded daily and is summarized simply by, ‘We love this shot!’ It might be the brilliant throat of a fiery-throated hummingbird and it might be a caterpillar spotted in someone’s backyard. Apparently, yesterday, what they loved was the star of a recent post: the Spotted Hyena.

I’m so honored at this opportunity to participate in what is, quite simply, one of the most ambitious and successful programs out there to get people out into nature and appreciating the beauty around them. Thank you so much, National Geographic.

Open

Open

A Chocolate Grass Yellow puddling on a trainer was attacked by a more common Common (no, duh) Grass Yellow and provided me with a shot of its open wings and also with the rather compromising position of having my face next to someone’s shoe.

World of Wonders

World of Wonders

If you want a scapegoat, blame seventh grade science. 

It was the rainforest unit, really. Of course, you could blame the NSS butterfly guide as well. It’s equally responsible.¬†

Or Project Noah. 

Or the camera I got for my tenth birthday.

Or the fact that the condominium I live in is stuffed to bursting with nature.

And you could go on and on like that. The world is filled with goats, scape and sheep alike. 

I would blame wonder, though. I would blame discovery. I would blame a teenager finding a world full of grey had some green hiding in it, and that in that green was hiding red and yellow and blue and all the colors of nature.

I would blame realising the importance of biodiversity. Of what we have to protect. To document.

And, ultimately, save from our own foolishness. 

So, whoever you choose to blame, the end-product is an amateur wildlife photographer, birder, butterflyer (what else should I call it? butterfly-watcher doesn’t roll off the tongue), conservationist, and most importantly, explorer. Basically, me.¬†

You can find me somewhere up a tree the majority of the time. Otherwise, searching my Project Noah account or for someone gesticulating wildly about white-bellied sea eagles to another person looking around wildly for the quickest escape routes could produce similar results. 

In the end, the only thing left to blame is me.