Outdoors to online: diminishing the value of the Pacific Northwest


Photo Courtesy of: McD22 on flickr.com

As posting with the hashtag “exploregon” becomes increasingly popular, millennials in the Pacific Northwest are competing to share the most beautiful or free spirited photo on social media. While Oregonians have a lot to brag about, this mindset merely skims the surface of what needs to be done to preserve our environment.

As our generation becomes further and further wrapped up in the allure of social media, we’ve grown obsessed with the competition of posting the prettiest selfie or, specifically in the Pacific Northwest, the coolest mountain picture.

Oregonians in their teens and twenties seem to exaggerate their outdoorsiness, exhibiting on Instagram that they are all simplistic hikers who don North Face jackets and Chacos sandals that real granola people wouldn’t be able to afford. While this style is a fad like any other, the documentation and praise for Ore. treasures and landmarks should be more than a passing trend.

People seem to use nature as a Saturday hobby, a photo shoot, or a quick way to burn some calories. The sacredness of the earth has less meaning than it used to and has been put on the back burner behind school, work and relationships. While these things are more impactful on our daily lives, nature isn’t something expendable that we can take advantage of when we feel like.

“They’re using the environment and that kind of culture to feel better about themselves, in a way,” Kira Duff, senior and active participant in WLHS’ Green Team said. “I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but you always need to go beyond the surface step.”

As global climate is changing and ecosystems are dwindling; we need to take on more than appreciating the earth.

“I’ve found that if you give somebody the cold hard facts, and a shovel, they’re 100 times more likely to participate,” Skye Gates-Walker, senior and co-leader of the WLHS’ Green Team said.


People should by no means stop themselves from showing their love for their state, but they should also do their best to preserve it. The next best thing to a picture of Mt. Hood at sunrise is the ability to see it for the next 50 generations.  

“In this generation, social media is the number one source of spreading news. More and more people advertise and communicate through Instagram pics, Facebook statuses, and Twitter hashtags. I believe social media is the perfect catalyst for the environmental revolution,” Gates-Walker said.