One of my favorite literary works is John Keats’ Endymion, a masterful poem about the myth of a mortal loved by the goddess of the moon. The first line, “A thing of beauty Is a joy forever,” almost always comes to mind whenever I find myself outside enjoying the sights and sounds of the unspoiled wilderness.
As a hiker, I have experienced breathtaking views of waterfalls, vistas, fauna, and flora from vantage points accessible to few others. Memories of nights spent sleeping under the stars, hiking to Shenandoah’s Dark Hollow Falls, reaching the snowy summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, immersing myself in the lush jungle along Kauai’s Kalalau Trail, or swimming at secluded Hanakapiai Beach on the Na Pali Coast are the only reminders I need of how important it is to be a good steward of the environment.
And yet, I’m amazed at how difficult it is to “sell” many people on the importance of conservation and other steps to protect our environment. I’ve seen too many instances where well-intentioned people resort to complicated and often-confusing explanations of what’s wrong and what needs to be done. I’ve heard the arguments from both sides on controversial issues like global warming, carbon offsets, and greenwashing. In all of this noise, the simple message of "help protect the beauty of our world" is invariably lost.
It’s all quite simple, really. Where words betray, images empower. Where words merely describe, images show. The right images can take you there and help you to experience the wonder and awe of nature’s beauty. The right images can help your target audience connect with your cause or message.
Think back to the memories I described earlier and the images of beauty they evoke. These are the images of joy, peace, and a oneness with nature. Why? Because the words written 200 years ago by an English Romantic poet still ring true today: “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”