We’re all for showcasing the beauty of Mother Nature in your Instagram. Travel photos are reminders of the spectacular sights we’ve seen, how we felt during that time, and a great way to give our friends FOMO back home.
However, every photo must be taken with caution, and photo ops that pose danger to yourself or the environment are never a good idea.
Celebrities are certainly aware of the influence that their actions can have on followers — take it from Justin Bieber, whose music video shot in Iceland caused so much tourist traffic that it led to this beautiful canyon being shut down.
With a casual 91 million Instagram followers, Miley Cyrus is no stranger to having a wide and captivated audience. A recent photoshoot of the singer has caused a significant amount of backlash, as she is posing in a famous and fragile Joshua tree.
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The location of the photoshoot has not been confirmed, but the Palm Springs Desert Sun reports that the trees are protected in Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve and in several city and county ordinances.
Social media audiences are not happy with Miley, and we would be remiss not to point out the irony in her caption: “Looking down at all the petty drama like… 💜”
Although Miley has since disabled comments from the photos, she has not removed them from Instagram.
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Joshua Trees National Park service shares:
“Joshua trees are not your typical ‘tree’-they’re actually more closely related to grasses and orchids than hardwood trees (oak or cedar). They have thin, shallow roots & can’t support weight w/o damage. Keep admiring & loving on our amazing Joshua trees, from the ground!”
Joshua trees are not your typical ‘tree’-they’re actually more closely related to grasses and orchids than hardwood trees (oak or cedar). They have thin, shallow roots & can’t support weight w/o damage. Keep admiring & loving on our amazing Joshua trees, from the ground! <3 <3 pic.twitter.com/HdAmBDqsVg
— Joshua Tree NPS (@JoshuaTreeNPS) April 3, 2019
According to the National Park Service, violations related to wildlife, plants, and natural or cultural features, carry a maximum penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in prison. It is undetermined whether Miley’s photos classify as one of these violations, and the singer has not yet responded to the backlash.
“Joshua trees are a unique part of our natural heritage and they don’t grow anywhere else on Earth,” Mojave Desert Land Trust Director of Plant Conservation Programs Madena Asbell told Desert Sun. “They are part of the rich, yet fragile, biological diversity of our desert and they’re an important part of the ecosystem. They are also one of the reasons people come here from all over the country and the world. They deserve our respect and they need our protection.”
Nature > Instagram, people. Don’t forget it.