The shit is hitting the fan over in the States at the moment, thanks to a vigilante Instagram account called Public Lands Hate You. The acid-tongued bad ass is naming and shaming Instagrammers who are disrespecting the environment in the name of getting that ‘perfect’ photo.

The account now has over 47,000 followers and sprung up after a spate of Instagram posts showing people trampling all over California’s recent superbloom.

If you didn’t see the pics of the bloom, you can check some out on the Public Lands Hate You Insta, along with the hoards of people doing their best to make sure the rare flowers never come back.

Here’s what their bio says:

People “doing it for the gram” are prioritizing profit, fame, and “rad pics” over the health and future of our favorite places. Who else is fed up?

And maaaaaan, you can tell that whoever this anonymous vigilante is, they really are pissed. Their posts are as vicious as a tiger snake stepped on by steel capped boots.

In a recent post, they challenge geo-tagging, saying; ‘Ask yourself this – What do you gain by geotagging? More likes? Giving followers FOMO? Is the temporary dopamine hit worth the potential permanent impact? I can’t answer that question for you, but for me the answer is an unequivocal NO.’

In another, they take on influencers (the post later got removed by Instagram): ‘These sponsored posts are some of my biggest pet peeves. What makes these so called “influencers” think that it’s ok to commandeer the beauty of our public lands to advertise stuff while concurrently damaging those very same lands? The logic here is absolutely mind boggling to me.  Are they oblivious? Do they just not care? Are they getting paid so much that they can’t focus on anything except the $$?’

Not gonna lie, this account may be focussed on the States but we’ve all seen the same thing happen in Australia. With incidents like this happening every which way, it’s probably only a matter of time before we get our own Aussie version of Public Lands Hate You. And I for one, can’t wait to follow it.

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Instagram has been called “the friendliest social network ever”, and I think that accounts on this platform are accustomed to being able to post whatever they want without any critical feedback. The prettier the picture the better, no matter what laws/rules had to be broken to create it. The few people who are willing to voice their critical feedback are usually ignored, told they are just being negative, or that they need to stop policing “art”. . If you think adults deserve to be coddled, to have their hands held, or should be ignored when they repeatedly lie and break the law, there are plenty of accounts you can follow that conform to the status quo and take that approach. @publiclandshateyou isn’t one of those accounts. I call it like I see it. Is the approach here salty, sarcastic, and snarky? Yes. Is it effective? Yes, I think it is. I understand that no one is perfect. People screw up. I screw up. And that’s ok. Life is a learning process, however when the response to a harmful mistake is excuses, ignorance, and lying rather than learning and growth, there needs to be a level of accountability. Unfortunately, IG & FB have decided that preservation of our environment is not a priority and have chosen not to provide a way to report illegal/harmful actions on our public lands. That leaves it up to us, the peers of people who post harmful actions, to voice our opinions and make it known that we don’t support illegal and harmful actions on our public lands. The goal isn’t to bully, insult, or make people feel bad, but to show with polite and educational dialogue that we don’t support illegal and harmful behavior on our public lands. The goal is to change the social norms around what is acceptable on our public lands, and that change requires a lot of voices. Change never happens by following the status quo. People have to get out there and stick their heads out. Is that going to make some people uncomfortable? Yes. But our public lands don’t have their own voice, so that means people like you and I need to step up and be that voice, speak out for what we believe in. No one is going to do it for you and our public lands are not going to protect themselves.

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Feature Photo by Alec Cooks on Unsplash

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