Celebrating what’s right….
Updated: Jan 31
I’m going to start this post with something that might weed a few readers out. I am not a big believer in climate change. I am what you might call a luke warmer. I listened to this great podcast a while back featuring Matt Ridley who coined “luke warmer” and it opened my eyes up quite a bit. There is ample evidence that the world is in fact getting warmer but there is also ample evidence that it is getting just a tiny bit warmer and there is a lot of mis information about the severity and frequency of various weather events that leads many to believe that the problem is bigger than it really is. It is also a fact that the temperature models over the last few decades have been miles from accurate. A look at the websites of NOAA and and The IPCC, the two biggest governmental proponents of climate change, actually bury the facts deep but they are there if you look. This is not, however, meant to be a post to argue about climate change but rather a look into our perceptions of the world we live in.
I watched a TED talk recently by Dewitt Jones, a national Geographic photographer. The subject was Celebrate what’s right with the world rather than wallowing in what was wrong with it. The talk had nothing to do with climate change but I will get back to it soon. Dewitt used photography as a metaphor. Searching for the right shot, finding the better angle. If the weather wouldn’t cooperate or if plans didn’t go as expected one can always look for a better shot regardless. In photography, as in life, keep searching and digging to make something out of the perceived bad situation. As Dewitt says “change your lens, change your life”. This is a must watch talk.
Another thing I saw recently was an instagram post… back to the climate change thing here. A photographer that I follow was shooting polar bears in Greenland. He had posted several shots of seemingly fat and happy bears and cubs. Then, he posted a shot of an emaciated bear, dying from the ‘ravages of climate change’. The photo was talked about on national news even. My first thought was that bears have been dying for eons so this one bear was no proof of anything. If one dying bear means climate change what does several fat, happy ones mean? it makes no sense to me. I commented to the photographer but got no response. Some research into various environmental groups, WWF in particular, told me that bears were, in fact, doing just fine. Some populations were up, some were down but most were stable. This man chose to see a dying bear and associate it with an issue that many say is the biggest threat the world has ever faced, armageddon… it’s all about perception, wallowing in what he perceives to be wrong with the world.
Finally, just tonight, the motivation for this post, I watched the first episode of Mike Rowe’s (Dirty Jobs) Returning the Favor. The show has been “airing” on Facebook and Youtube for over a year but I just discovered it tonight. Mike talks about how we humans always seem to want to hear about, believe in and focus on all of the turmoil in the world. He was talking mostly about politics and the news. The seeming hatred between political parties. He knows, from his copious amounts of work out there in the real America with hard working men and women of all political stripes, races and belief systems, that we are far more alike than we are different. We agree on far more than we disagree on. We all get along just fine out there every day and many, many people are doing wonderful things for their neighbors and their communities. His goal is to focus on the good, not the bad and he goes out and does just that via his show. Please give it a look.
I would like for my remaining time on this earth to focus on the good… on what’s right with the world. Lets share and celebrate our similarities. Let’s gain motivation from the natural splendor that is all around us, the good deeds, the generosity, the volunteerism, the non profits, the selflessness. We will most certainly have hatred, disease, war and disagreement in the future but please let’s keep it in perspective. I hope to do this through my photography as well as my actions.
Let’s tread lightly on the earth. We can all agree that there is too much consumption and too much pollution regardless of the climate change debate. I can attest to this an an avid hiker and fisherman. I can also attest to vast amounts of unspoiled, beautiful wilderness out there with soaring mountains and rushing rivers. I have seen poverty and starvation in 3’rd world nations and seen countless efforts to help those people in need. I have shopped in grocery stores full of junk food and I have photographed pioneers in the growing world of sustainable farming. We have all witnessed political and racial strife in this country but we have all seen much more acceptance amongst people of all types.
Please, let’s celebrate what’s right with the world not wallow in what’s wrong with it.