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Your Instagram Lifestyle is a Hazard to the
Environment
By: Sarah Paull
3.5 billion
cellphones
are in use
worldwide,
or about
half the
global
population
[11].
Created by Jannoon028 - Freepik.com
With this growth comes the
institutionalization of
rudeness and it is only going
to get worse [5].
The disposal of these cellphones often leaves
a toxic imprint on the environment [11].
With this growth comes an
increased amount of
pollution year after year [10].
65,000 tons of weight of electronic garbage are created by
cellphones annually. The average phone contains about $1 in gold
which is recovered after recycling [11]. Unfortunately, these
astounding numbers haven’t stopped anyone from holding onto their
current cell phone for any longer than they need to before upgrading
to the newest model available.
Despite the harm mobile phones do
to the environment, they are helping to
expand environmental
awareness, reduce inefficiencies and
find solutions [11]. This is done in many
ways, but can be seen increasingly in
social media [12].
Designed by Jcomp / Freepik
In the last couple years the resurgence
of interest in the outdoors
that we’ve seen can be, especially
amongst millennials, almost exclusively
attributed to Instagram [2].
Over the past five years, Instagram
has grown immensely as a
social media platform and is used just
as much as Facebook, if not more [12].
Whether your motivation is to share with
friends or family, or in pursuit of
“Instafame”, everyone is a contributor and
liver of the Instagram lifestyle [4].
This is because it’s so hard to resist the life that
the social-media machine has created for us,
one in which we are both consumer and producer,
sharing generously of our own creative
energy and expending our attention in a self-
nourishing loop [1]. The desire to get more and more
likes with each photo posted is addictive, and is
starting to become harmful to the
environment.
Instagram has sold this new lifestyle through brands like
Patagonia [13]. Nothing says cute Instagram post like a hip outdoors outfit,
but we cannot forget the price tag that comes with it.
With social media like Instagram and Facebook
inspiring people to travel and explore our outdoor spaces, the
concept of leaving no trace becomes more important
in order to maintain these places [8] and preserve our
precious environment.
This is because with increased
numbers comes the bad apples that are
just there to get the one shot, get the likes,
get the views, and aren’t respecting
the outdoors, the national parks, the rules,
the conservation [2].
If only millennials would get off their phones and listen to the birds,
they are too blinded by their Instagram likes to really appreciate
this place [8] and give it the respect it deserves.
GPS trackers and cell phones give us a false sense of security in
the wilderness [14].
With increased numbers comes
increased inexperience in a place where
it is much harder to call for help. The
cell service is terrible in the
backcountry, yet individuals continue
to fall into this deathtrap in
pursuit of the perfect Instagram [14].
This theme of being too dependent
on technology is recurring.
Why do we keep putting
ourselves in the same
dangerous position?
It’s the same as convincing
ourselves that we are
smarter than we
really are with the help
of our smartphone [6].
Our addiction to email, the
Internet and social media is
robbing us of time, attention
and even health [1].
We interrupt conversations for documentation all the time [15].
If only we could use this documentation to
spread the word and start our own
conversations [9] about preserving the
environment and protecting what is at risk.
We could use this to gain support for various
organizations [3] as well as educate the general
public on safety in the wilderness.
And really get the conversation going so that we
can take action and protect our
environment [7].
So, are you going to change
YOUR Instagram lifestyle?
Works Cited
1. Anderssen, Erin. "Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction." The Globe and Mail
[Toronto] 29 Mar. 2014: n. pag. Web. 10 May 2017. <https://search-proquest-
com.proxy.queensu.ca/docview/1511086003?accountid=6180>.
2. Barronian, Abbie. "On Instagram's Impact on Wilderness, and True Adventure Photographers."
Adventure Journal. Adventure Journal, 18 Mar. 2017. Web. 02 June 2017.
<https://www.adventure-journal.com/2017/03/instagrams-impact-wilderness-true-adventure-
photographers/>.
3. Cort, Justin. "Instagram and Its Impact on Environmental Storytelling." Planet Forward. N.p.,
16 June 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://www.planetforward.org/idea/instagram-and-its-
impact-on-environmental-storytelling>.
4. Dell'Antonia, K. J. "Don't Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say." The New York Times.
N.p., 8 Mar. 2016. Web. 2 June 2017. <https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/dont-post-
about-me-on-social-media-children-say/?_r=1>.
5. Eichelr, Leah. "Sorry to be rude, but my phone needs me." The Globe and Mail. N.p., 5 Oct.
2013. Web. 10 May 2017. <https://search-proquest-
com.proxy.queensu.ca/docview/1439503480?accountid=6180>.
Works Cited – Continued
6. Kaplan, Sarah. How the Internet makes you think you're smarter than you really are."
Washingtonpost.com, 1 Apr. 2015. Academic OneFile,
go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=queensulaw&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA407883387&i
t=r&asid=9d6626e74ccdeff155d4c1cad388523c. Accessed 8 May 2017.
7. Kielburger, Marc And Craig. "Global Voices: 'Liking' Must Be Followed up with Real-world
Action." Times Colonist. N.p., 12 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 June 2017.
<http://www.timescolonist.com/life/global-voices-liking-must-be-followed-up-with-real-world-
action-1.1820728>.
8. Leave No Trace. "Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing
Change." Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change |
Leave No Trace. Subaru, n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://lnt.org/blog/embracing-technology-
outdoors-promoting-inclusivity-and-managing-change>.
9. McHugh, Molly. "How Instagram Is Destroying Our Natural Wonders – The Ringer." The Ringer.
The Ringer, 03 Nov. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://theringer.com/instagram-geotagging-
ruining-parks-f65b529d5e28>.
10. Oliver, Hilary. "Is Your Instagram Destroying the Environment?" Adventure Journal. Adventure
Journal, 03 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.adventure-journal.com/2015/04/is-
your-instagram-destroying-the-environment/>.
Works Cited – Continued
11. Pasternack, Alex. "The Environmental Costs (and Benefits) of Our Cell Phones." TreeHugger.
Treehugger, 01 May 2017. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.treehugger.com/clean-
technology/the-environmental-costs-and-benefits-of-our-cell-phones.html>.
12. Schaffer, Grayson. "Why Your Instagram Nature Shot Is Breaking the Law." Outside Online.
N.p., 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.outsideonline.com/1930546/why-your-
instagram-nature-shot-breaking-law>.
13. Socialy. "5 Outdoor Brands That Know How to Use Instagram." Socialy. N.p., 4 Jan. 2016. Web.
02 June 2017. <http://socialy.io/5-outdoor-brands-that-know-how-to-use-instagram/>.
14. Sullivan, J. R. "Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing
Change." Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change |
Leave No Trace. Outside, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://lnt.org/blog/embracing-
technology-outdoors-promoting-inclusivity-and-managing-change>.
15. Turkle, Sherry. "The Documented Life." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Dec.
2013. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/opinion/the-documented-
life.html>.

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Your Instagram is a Hazard to the Environment

  • 1. Your Instagram Lifestyle is a Hazard to the Environment By: Sarah Paull
  • 2. 3.5 billion cellphones are in use worldwide, or about half the global population [11]. Created by Jannoon028 - Freepik.com With this growth comes the institutionalization of rudeness and it is only going to get worse [5].
  • 3. The disposal of these cellphones often leaves a toxic imprint on the environment [11]. With this growth comes an increased amount of pollution year after year [10].
  • 4. 65,000 tons of weight of electronic garbage are created by cellphones annually. The average phone contains about $1 in gold which is recovered after recycling [11]. Unfortunately, these astounding numbers haven’t stopped anyone from holding onto their current cell phone for any longer than they need to before upgrading to the newest model available.
  • 5. Despite the harm mobile phones do to the environment, they are helping to expand environmental awareness, reduce inefficiencies and find solutions [11]. This is done in many ways, but can be seen increasingly in social media [12].
  • 6. Designed by Jcomp / Freepik In the last couple years the resurgence of interest in the outdoors that we’ve seen can be, especially amongst millennials, almost exclusively attributed to Instagram [2]. Over the past five years, Instagram has grown immensely as a social media platform and is used just as much as Facebook, if not more [12].
  • 7. Whether your motivation is to share with friends or family, or in pursuit of “Instafame”, everyone is a contributor and liver of the Instagram lifestyle [4].
  • 8. This is because it’s so hard to resist the life that the social-media machine has created for us, one in which we are both consumer and producer, sharing generously of our own creative energy and expending our attention in a self- nourishing loop [1]. The desire to get more and more likes with each photo posted is addictive, and is starting to become harmful to the environment.
  • 9. Instagram has sold this new lifestyle through brands like Patagonia [13]. Nothing says cute Instagram post like a hip outdoors outfit, but we cannot forget the price tag that comes with it.
  • 10. With social media like Instagram and Facebook inspiring people to travel and explore our outdoor spaces, the concept of leaving no trace becomes more important in order to maintain these places [8] and preserve our precious environment.
  • 11. This is because with increased numbers comes the bad apples that are just there to get the one shot, get the likes, get the views, and aren’t respecting the outdoors, the national parks, the rules, the conservation [2].
  • 12. If only millennials would get off their phones and listen to the birds, they are too blinded by their Instagram likes to really appreciate this place [8] and give it the respect it deserves.
  • 13. GPS trackers and cell phones give us a false sense of security in the wilderness [14].
  • 14. With increased numbers comes increased inexperience in a place where it is much harder to call for help. The cell service is terrible in the backcountry, yet individuals continue to fall into this deathtrap in pursuit of the perfect Instagram [14].
  • 15. This theme of being too dependent on technology is recurring.
  • 16. Why do we keep putting ourselves in the same dangerous position? It’s the same as convincing ourselves that we are smarter than we really are with the help of our smartphone [6].
  • 17. Our addiction to email, the Internet and social media is robbing us of time, attention and even health [1].
  • 18. We interrupt conversations for documentation all the time [15].
  • 19. If only we could use this documentation to spread the word and start our own conversations [9] about preserving the environment and protecting what is at risk.
  • 20. We could use this to gain support for various organizations [3] as well as educate the general public on safety in the wilderness.
  • 21. And really get the conversation going so that we can take action and protect our environment [7].
  • 22. So, are you going to change YOUR Instagram lifestyle?
  • 23. Works Cited 1. Anderssen, Erin. "Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction." The Globe and Mail [Toronto] 29 Mar. 2014: n. pag. Web. 10 May 2017. <https://search-proquest- com.proxy.queensu.ca/docview/1511086003?accountid=6180>. 2. Barronian, Abbie. "On Instagram's Impact on Wilderness, and True Adventure Photographers." Adventure Journal. Adventure Journal, 18 Mar. 2017. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.adventure-journal.com/2017/03/instagrams-impact-wilderness-true-adventure- photographers/>. 3. Cort, Justin. "Instagram and Its Impact on Environmental Storytelling." Planet Forward. N.p., 16 June 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://www.planetforward.org/idea/instagram-and-its- impact-on-environmental-storytelling>. 4. Dell'Antonia, K. J. "Don't Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say." The New York Times. N.p., 8 Mar. 2016. Web. 2 June 2017. <https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/dont-post- about-me-on-social-media-children-say/?_r=1>. 5. Eichelr, Leah. "Sorry to be rude, but my phone needs me." The Globe and Mail. N.p., 5 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 May 2017. <https://search-proquest- com.proxy.queensu.ca/docview/1439503480?accountid=6180>.
  • 24. Works Cited – Continued 6. Kaplan, Sarah. How the Internet makes you think you're smarter than you really are." Washingtonpost.com, 1 Apr. 2015. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=queensulaw&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA407883387&i t=r&asid=9d6626e74ccdeff155d4c1cad388523c. Accessed 8 May 2017. 7. Kielburger, Marc And Craig. "Global Voices: 'Liking' Must Be Followed up with Real-world Action." Times Colonist. N.p., 12 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://www.timescolonist.com/life/global-voices-liking-must-be-followed-up-with-real-world- action-1.1820728>. 8. Leave No Trace. "Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change." Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change | Leave No Trace. Subaru, n.d. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://lnt.org/blog/embracing-technology- outdoors-promoting-inclusivity-and-managing-change>. 9. McHugh, Molly. "How Instagram Is Destroying Our Natural Wonders – The Ringer." The Ringer. The Ringer, 03 Nov. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://theringer.com/instagram-geotagging- ruining-parks-f65b529d5e28>. 10. Oliver, Hilary. "Is Your Instagram Destroying the Environment?" Adventure Journal. Adventure Journal, 03 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.adventure-journal.com/2015/04/is- your-instagram-destroying-the-environment/>.
  • 25. Works Cited – Continued 11. Pasternack, Alex. "The Environmental Costs (and Benefits) of Our Cell Phones." TreeHugger. Treehugger, 01 May 2017. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.treehugger.com/clean- technology/the-environmental-costs-and-benefits-of-our-cell-phones.html>. 12. Schaffer, Grayson. "Why Your Instagram Nature Shot Is Breaking the Law." Outside Online. N.p., 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://www.outsideonline.com/1930546/why-your- instagram-nature-shot-breaking-law>. 13. Socialy. "5 Outdoor Brands That Know How to Use Instagram." Socialy. N.p., 4 Jan. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://socialy.io/5-outdoor-brands-that-know-how-to-use-instagram/>. 14. Sullivan, J. R. "Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change." Embracing Technology in the Outdoors: Promoting Inclusivity and Managing Change | Leave No Trace. Outside, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 June 2017. <https://lnt.org/blog/embracing- technology-outdoors-promoting-inclusivity-and-managing-change>. 15. Turkle, Sherry. "The Documented Life." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 02 June 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/16/opinion/the-documented- life.html>.