An Earth Day Bucket List
Our Earth Day Bucket List will help you mark the 46th observance of Earth Day since its start in 1970. Born in an age of carbon belching cars and factories, CFC intense aerosols, and a largely unaware or uncaring populous; Earth Day was conceived to educate and tell people of the risks associated with taking our planet for granted.
A lot has been accomplished in the later years: from legislation protecting national resources, to global treaties limiting polluting emissions, to everyday actions of people in how they view and use natural resources around the world. An Earth Day Bucket List as a reminder of the endangered world we live in. Click To Tweet
And while we don’t talk much anymore about depleting ozone layers, or debate the validity of measuring our carbon footprint, we cannot deny that global warming is still changing the world in which we live.
As a citizen of the world, I am very concerned about these phenomena and the potentially devastating consequences they can bring. But as a photographer, I am also very intent on witnessing and capturing in images as much of the disappearing grandeur of this world as I can before it is too late.
I’ve gathered my Earth Day Bucket List of things to photography while I still can which seems proper to share on this Earth Day.
Great wildlife migrations
For centuries creatures great and small have traveled the same migration routes as part of their cycle of live. Now with diminishing animal populations, vanishing habitats and encroaching civilization, many of these great migrations are in danger of disappearing.
All of which makes this my priority Earth Day Bucket List item to capture.
High on the Earth Day Bucket List for me are:
- the Polar bears who migrate to the banks of Churchill, Canada to raise their offspring each fall;
- the mighty Wildebeests herd crossing Serengeti with the many and assorted predators hot on their trails;
- the grace and beauty of the Monarch Butterflies as they move in and out of Mexico for the winter;
- the Penguin colonies who return to the Falklands, Georgia Island or the Antarctica to nest in the same rookeries year after year;
- and the majestic Whooping Crane who travels from Canada to the Gulf coast of Texas annually to nest and feast on blue crab.
Mass deforestation and growing populations have left the rainforests of Borneo, The Congo Basin, The Amazon and other locations around the world under great stress. Not only is the planet losing majestic landscape and scenery, it is also loosing plant and animal species at an alarming rate.
The World Wildlife Federation estimates that 8 out of 10 land species live in forests – and we are losing acreage at the rate of 48 football fields a minute – making this my second bucket list item to photograph before the devastation becomes too great.
Polar regions and Glaciers
The Arctic and Antarctica Peninsula are shrinking. And along with the loss of ice shelf, comes the demise in the wildlife that depends on this habitat for existence. Whether you want to witness the glaciers of Alaska, Antarctica, Patagonia, Iceland or Greenland, time may be running out.
Everyone owes it to themselves to see a glacier calf; to witness seals, penguins and polar bears outside of a zoo; and to marvel at the beauty of massive floating icebergs at least once in their lives – making this region third on my overall bucket list.
Ancient ruins and endangered landmarks
Pollution, over tourism, and even wars are threatening some of the greatest archaeological sites around the world. The stone city of Petra in Jordan, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Peru’s Sacred City of Machu Picchu are just a few of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites under strain and at risk.
Fortunately organizations like National Geographic offer eco-friendly tours that let you experience these treasures still in their majesty– which is why they are my fourth Earth Day Bucket List category.
71 percent of the Earths surface is water – and yet potable water is one of our greatest diminishing resources. While ocean levels may be rising due to global warming, historic drought from climate change is threatening such great landmarks as the Dead Sea in Jordan and the Great Salt Lakes of Utah.
High on my priorities for my last Earth Day Bucket List area are also the Iguaçu Falls of Argentina and Brazil, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and more visits to Niagara Falls along the Canadian border while the water is still flowing.
This Earth Day Bucket List will certainly keep me busy exploring and shooting as many natural wonders as I can during my lifetime, but on this Earth Day, I’ll also pledge to do what I can to halt – and maybe even reverse – the trend towards destruction. After all, it would be nice if my grandkids could experience these wonders other than just through my pictures.
Image credits: Karen Foley via Dreamstime.com.
Karen Foley, author of An Earth Day Bucket List, is a freelance photographer with a passion for travel. See more of her work at karenfoleyphotography.com.
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