observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Shoot the Change you Want in the World

Many of you know that I live my life consciously, always aware of my impact on the environment. I’ve had this awareness since I was a very young girl with my connection to the land and the balance of life that is a circle of life, has always been a part of me. The other day I read a sensible article at PopPhoto about ways to be a greener photographer. One of the points the author of the article made used an apt twist on Mahatma Ghandi’s quote, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”


Shoot the Change you Want in the World:

I’ve been making an attempt to incorporate more environmentally-friendly practices with my photography but he suggested something that really should have been obvious to me. Not only should we be aware of how we shoot and the practices we incorporate but that awareness should organically flow into what we shoot. Granted, I do take a lot of photos of my personal environment and the nature I live within but there is more.

I hadn’t really thought that the images I shoot, or at least some of them, could also serve to illustrate or represent solutions or simply showcase environmental problems.

Thus, the reason for taking and including this image of the egg cartons. We shop locally for many products, as much as what is available. Every week we attend the Farmer’s Market and purchase all our eggs, fresh produce, local meat (lamb, bison, pork in particular), locally made preserves, and occasionally gift items as well. We bring along our own reuseable cloth bags and, in the case of eggs we always return the egg cartons to the vendor from whom we purchase our eggs. I detest the styrofoam egg cartons because they are so intensely harmful to our environment but at least if we keep them recycling there will be less need for more to be made. The rare time we have to buy eggs at the store (in winter) we select our eggs based on the carton: if the carton is made from recycled paper, that’s our choice; styrofoam gets a pass.

It’s one small thing, but if more of us did one small thing, they all add up to make a big difference. The change we want in the world.

It’s the small things I focus on in my weekly environment column, “Everyday Earth Wise”, for a local newspaper. In the most recent archived column that you can now read online, if you wish, I addressed some small yet simple ways we can conserve water. Click on that link if you’re interested in reading the archived column. (Reminder: the newspaper does not leave these archived columns up for a long time so if it’s something you’re interested in, please print it out for future reference.)

So tell me this, what simple thing do you practice to see the change you want in the world (or what simple change can you adopt)? If you have taken a photo shooting the change you want in the world, please leave a link here and I’ll come take a look!


Diane is an environmentally conscious on-location lifestyle photographer based from Grande Prairie, Alberta. Visit Diane Schuller Photography.

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Suvarna - June 20, 2009 - 12:52 pm

Oh yes, I love those three words, be the change. We have a farmers market here every summer from June to October and I try whenever possible to shop for locally grown produce. I prefer the farmers market to shopping in the grocery store anyway as it’s a much more social environment and makes me think about where my food is coming from.

Gayle - June 20, 2009 - 9:01 pm

A couple of years ago we bought stainless steel water bottles for our kids to bring to school instead of buying the plastic bottles (which I also reused, but I feel better about the stainless.) They also use lunch boxes instead of toss away paper bags. Those are two really easy things that help. Now I’m off to read your water conservation article!

Toni - June 21, 2009 - 2:44 am

I’ve made lots of little changes, most of which I can’t think of right now, but one thing I do is no longer buy bottled water. My future daughter-in-law bought me a Brita. I love that girl. =)

Joy - June 21, 2009 - 7:38 am

Hello Diane !
I am just catching up now to your new location .. the garden and house keeps me so darn busy .. I need a breather here and there .. and this is just right for me ! : )

don - June 21, 2009 - 8:33 am

Fine pictures of that rooster and those great lookng egg plants. The egg cartons and your thoughtful comment are provocative statements and one that I will give conscious thought to in the future. The only thing I can think of is that when photographing nature I never manipulate what is before me, or add “stuff” to a shot. So, I’ve got plenty to think about! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Marcie - June 21, 2009 - 11:42 am

I’m a true believer that if we each make a small contribution and commitment to living more consciously..we can and we will change the world. Will be interested in reading the article on how to be a greener photographer. Such a thoughtful post!!!

Candace - June 22, 2009 - 12:43 am

Diane, I like this post a lot. I remember when I was going to college, majoring in photo, and came to the realization that “gelatin” used to make film and paper was made from cows! I’m a vegetarian so it made me feel really bad that I wasn’t eating cows but they were dying just the same so I could take photos. So I guess I think digital is at least better in that regard but I know other things suffer as a result of that, too. It’s hard for humans to not make a negative impact on the planet.

My 5/16/09 blog was entitled, “How Can Photography Change the World?” (http://maccandace.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/how-can-photography-change-the-world/) It’s a little similar to what you have discussed here although I wasn’t talking about being a greener photographer but, rather, about things I, as a photographer, can do to make the world a better place, and one of my points was like what you said above, “illustrate or represent solutions or simply showcase environmental problems.” I didn’t specifically mention environmental problems but any causes near and dear to a photographer’s heart–showcase them through your photos, your blog, etc.

We really need to have a more positive impact on the world by helping the environment, by helping the world’s poor, by all sorts of things. I try, every few days in my blog, and often accompanied by photos, to highlight a nonprofit organization that I feel is making a difference in the world. And I personally try to give as much as I can to groups that I consider worthy. So many good nonprofits are suffering now because of the economy and will fail if we don’t help them out.

sherri - June 22, 2009 - 10:28 pm

I like the combination of images. Your color combos are in an eye appealing arrangement. You have a good eye for this.

sherri - June 22, 2009 - 10:29 pm

PS. I meant for the layout, not the photography:-)

DesignTies - June 23, 2009 - 9:51 pm

I like to think I live green, but I know I can do much better. Like you said, if we all do one small thing, we CAN make a difference ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that summer is here, local markets are open — I’m going to try to buy more local food. Good for the environment and good for local farmers ๐Ÿ™‚


Steve - June 24, 2009 - 8:45 pm

The colorful city market sign is a great capture. The bin of eggplants makes for a nice composition too.