This time every year we see white people taking seasonal greeting card photos and every year they get more irresponsible, venturing further and further into wild, precariously-balanced parts of our natural world.
It’s true that many of these people may have unknowingly wandered onto government-protected land, but ignorance is no excuse when talking about conservation. The Department of Natural Resources estimates that nationwide 18,000 acres of habitat are destroyed by white people’s amateur photo shoots, but that figure doesn’t take into account the fragile ecosystems disrupted by their invasive behavior or the damage done by the themed props and decorations they might leave behind.
Here are seven critical ecosystems that, due to carelessness or blatant disregard, were damaged this year, possibly irreparably, by white people taking Christmas card pictures.
1. Sage Ecosystem Near Inyo National Forest, California
This picture looks nice until you notice the family is standing in and sitting on wild white sage, an endangered and overharvested plant home to the threatened lesser sage grouse. This type of habitat disruption is easily avoidable. Please do more research on your shooting locations!
2. Mountain Valley Near Eldora, Colorado
A wonderful winter landscape to be sure, provided you pay no attention to the countless black footed ferret burrows being crushed underfoot/mountain bike tire. And let’s not even think about that unleashed dog spooking a herd of Rocky Mountain elk into a ravine. Sickening.
3. Mattamuskeet State Sanctuary, North Carolina
Yeah, rolling your kids through this field in a heavy, vintage Radio Flyer wagon and crushing thousands of banded longhorn beetle larvae will have nooo effect on next spring’s insect population and subsequent wildflower bloom.
4. Endangered Canada Lynx Habitat Near Marquette, Michigan
Here we’ve got a chalkie family of four traipsing up a remote hillside knocking over briar and bramble, vital camouflaging habitat for the endangered lynx, all to get the perfect Xmas shot. Hope it was worth it. (It wasn’t.)
5. Stewart B. Mckinney Wildlife Refuge, Connecticut
Oh look. Some very not-endangered crackers have lugged a damn love seat out into a salt marsh and destroyed apple snail eggs or worse yet the apple snails themselves, the exclusive food source of the locally endangered snail kite, a small bird of prey. Great work.
6. Near The Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
This prairie marshland is home to many struggling amphibian populations as well and a key migration ground for over 28 species of waterfowl. This family showed up in early November, a peak migration time, to take some pictures and cleared out a field of wood ducks who instead probably had to fly further south and land on some farm pond and get shot at by drunk locals.
7. Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
Okay truthfully, this ecosystem isn’t really all that fragile but it’s like c’mon, this could be used for something more worthwhile than photo backdrops, like maybe a stadium for the city’s new semi-pro football team.
Cole Moser is ashamed of how overwhelmingly this specific type of seasonal ecological damage is done by white people.