Looking upstream, the Transquaking River feeds into Fishing Bay near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Showing the big picture is important but can obscure the everyday ways we depend on a healthy environment. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program))

No single photo can capture all the links between our actions and their environmental impact. Sometimes, the instinct is to pull away and show the wide view, in order to illustrate the first rule of ecology: that everything is connected. The most extreme—and successful—example of this approach is probably the photograph known as “Earthrise,” made by astronaut Bill Anders aboard Apollo 8 in 1968. It encapsulated the growing environmental movement by speaking to the fact that we are all in this together. It reminded us that we share a home on “spaceship Earth.”

Planet Earth is seen with the edge of the moon in the foreground

The earth is seen from the lunar capsule of Apollo 8 on Dec. 24, 1968. Known as “Earthrise,” the photo became an icon of the environmental movement. (Photo by William Anders/NASA)

But most attempts to take a step back end up losing sight of the intimate moments that reflect how we depend on the environment every day. Cooking fresh food for dinner, drawing clean drinking water from the tap, catching your breath, visiting the local park—moments like these matter the most.

The wide view of the Chesapeake watershed can show how pollution sources connect to their impacts downstream. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the environment is not something far away. Though the positive impacts of our collective actions—like planting shade trees that also soak up nutrients, installing rain gardens that also make sidewalks safer, and adopting conservation practices that also boost harvests—ultimately help restore the Chesapeake Bay, their benefits begin closer to home.



There are no comments.

Leave a comment:

Time to share! Please leave comments that are respectful and constructive. We do not publish comments that are disrespectful or make false claims.

Thank you!

Your comment has been received. Before it can be published, the comment will be reviewed by our team to ensure it adheres with our rules of engagement.

Back to recent stories