Tyger Gilbert next to Havasu Creek at the campground below Havasu falls in Havasupai Canyon.  Photo by Faith Amadori.

The Ideals of this Man with the White Mustache

Having reached the final quarter in the game of Life and still being on the field, I have changed my objectives from just trying to make a living each week to focusing on having some lasting and positive influence on the world around me in whatever ways I can. Some enormous problems with the natural environment are looming in the future which will affect nearly every living thing on Earth, but few definitive solutions have been found and put into practice. Most people don't recognize those problems or their severity, and the best scientific data on what's happening in the world hasn't convinced enough of them yet. It has taken decades for me to see and acknowledge the issues and decide to take action myself.

I have come to realize that beliefs and emotions are more relevant than facts and information in determining people's behavior toward Nature. Groups of people or individuals alone all have their own agendas, and whether their goals are profits, security, social recognition, control, or anything else, they emotionally try to prove they are right over everyone else. But rational thinking involves seeking facts about significant changes in the environment and coordinating with others to make things better for everybody, regardless of their philosophies or beliefs. Life does not have to be a competitive game where one side wins and the other side loses.

The One Thing Everyone Has in Common . . .

The one baseline fact of Life is that a healthy environment and ecosystem is very necessary to provide the natural resources of clean air and water and the fertile soils required for the continued existence of the human race, as well as all the plants and animals that coexist with us. It just makes common sense. However, at seven billion and counting, the population keeps growing and destroying everything natural in its path, all in the name of "progress." I've seen this for myself over the last 50 years, during which time the number of humans on Earth has doubled. Too little thought is given to the effects of adding five million bodies to the total every month. Action must be taken NOW to avoid what currently would be considered bad and unacceptable conditions in the future and complete extinction of the species ultimately. Unfortunately, it appears to me that not enough people will recognize this until things get to be so awful it will be too late for anyone to do anything meaningful to correct the situation.

My remaining silent and doing nothing now seems equally irrational to me, if not completely irresponsible – to myself and everyone else – when the option to do something today which may help still exists. So I'm stepping up to express my genuine concern for the environment and advocate a healthier attitude toward Nature, as this is an issue that affects everyone. I don't need to have and present all the answers myself. If I can help get more people to care about the issues, they will find workable solutions to the problems that need to be confronted. And if I can get a few others to help me and support my efforts, I think we can attain some significantly beneficial results for everyone.

What do I Intend to Do?

Consequently, I have decided to use my artistic talents and photographic abilities proactively by presenting many of my best images of Arizona wherever I can in an effort to get people to realize they are in danger of losing their natural resources everywhere through their apathy and inaction. Through my writing and my photos, I hope to have a positive effect on the world.

Certainly this idea is nothing new, but it represents a major change in direction for me. I had previously given up on Humanity, convinced that it was pointless to try to change the minds of those who don't care and won't listen. The facts gathered by accredited scientists on climate changes, destruction of rain forests, pollution of the air and water, over-population, total extinction of animal species, and many other major problems caused by humans are not enough for many people. They don't seem to realize what terrible conditions are ahead if things continue in this direction and actions to correct the devastation mankind is inflicting on the rest of Nature are not taken now!

Then I finally recognized that I must let my photography talk for me, as it communicates and emphasizes what needs to be expressed far more clearly than anything I could say in just words alone. Pictures of beautiful scenes and wild animals show everyone what they stand to lose if the environment and its resources continue to be openly exploited and destroyed. Setting aside the National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, and other protected lands and waters are probably the best things ever done by governments everywhere for Nature and people around the world. But beyond those, many government environmental regulations are often inadequate and ineffective in preventing the destruction, pollution, and exploitation of the lands, waters, and animals that everyone loves and enjoys, or even in preserving what still exists now. It's time for people to take actions to fix the situation, either by themselves or with organizations formed specifically to do what is needed.

Can Photos Actually Make a Difference?

Photos seem to resonate well with people because images stir emotions that occur far below the conscious level and evoke the kind of responses that are desirable and effective, causing people to recognize they are acting on their own self-interests. Different social beliefs become irrelevant when everyone has the intent to preserve Nature in common. The basic need for everyone to physically survive – together – transcends whatever differences we may have.

Because photos convey information and evoke emotions visually instead of verbally, they can communicate and be understood by people everywhere, no matter what languages are known or spoken by the viewers. Whether the message is about good or bad, actions or conditions, just ideas and concepts, or things real and existing, the right photograph will accomplish what it is intended to express to anyone who sees it.

So, I have set a new course and am making a concerted effort to get others to join me and to contribute to my endeavors. Here is what I am now working to accomplish:

•  Expose more people to the beauty of Nature and the wonderful creatures and plants that exist in the world. Show them places where they actually can go to  experience it all for themselves. Convince them there is more to life than playing video games, watching football on TV, and texting on cell phones.

•  Stimulate an interest in the fascinating life-forms and processes of Nature so folks learn to respect and appreciate animals, trees, rivers, oceans, and even the air and rocks of the Earth. Get them to want to understand how ecology works so they will actively participate in using and protecting the natural environment for the future benefit of everyone on Earth.

•  Encourage everyone to improve their health by eating less junk foods and getting more exercise so they are in condition to go outdoors and enjoy some of the recreational sports and activities that are good for them. A healthier population is generally happier and more productive – and more likely to care about the natural environment they are using and enjoying.

•  Promote travel and tourism throughout Arizona to help improve the state's economy, which adds to the national and global economies, too. Provide information on unique and secluded locations that Nature lovers can go see, with suggestions on places to eat and stay during a trip so local communities and businesses will benefit from the recreational activities of their visitors.

•  Help establish a trend in both commercial and residential interior design to make using photographs of natural elements, either realistic or abstract, be the latest style in dιcor. Create a subconscious feeling in people that causes them to appreciate Nature and want to responsibly use and protect the environment.

I have no delusions about "saving the world," but at the very least, I'm hoping a substantial number of people will choose to take positive actions to reduce the human impact on the Earth because they saw my photos or read one of my books. And when they do take these actions, they will feel good about themselves and be happier, and this will have an influence on others, too. Perhaps you would like to be a part of all this with me?

Ways you can Join Me and help further these objectives

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