Making Wedding Photography Greener in Portland, Oregon
As a Portland wedding photographer, I make every effort to run a sustainable business and live an environmentally friendly life. I shoot digital so there’s less chemical waste from darkroom processes. I reuse, I reduce, I recycle. I compost. I take cloth totes to the grocery store and refuse plastic bags everywhere I go. I bike or bus whenever possible. I offset my emissions and run a carbon neutral business. I pay attention to packaging (especially plastic) and make earth-friendly choices as often as possible. And it feels GOOD. But I still have moments of despair over the realization that no matter how careful I am about my own impact, I can never undo everything being done to our planet on a daily basis.
Raised by two nature freaks in rural Northern California, I grew up knowing that the natural world isn’t separate from humankind – it’s a precious, fragile, and integral part of who we are. I feel lucky to have been raised with an active awareness of that. As an adult nature nerd, though, it’s tough to avoid feeling a sense of heartbreak about the immense ecological impact that we “civilized” humans unwittingly make on this little blue planet every single day. Whether you personally believe in the existence of global warming or not (and I hope you do), no one can deny that there are several human-created, Texas-sized plastic garbage patches floating in our oceans, or dismiss the images of pelicans mired in sludge from the BP oil spill — casualties of human errors it will take our planet untold decades to recover from.
We’ve been very, very careless.
On my blog, I recently pledged to donate at least 5% of Luminous Studios’ profits every year to protect our environment (some years it will be more, but it will always be at least 5%). I do so knowing that this may be tough to give sometimes, because the profit margin on wedding photography probably isn’t what you think– but knowing that I am committed to giving even when it feels tough, because the plight of the dolphins in Japan is more critical than whether I get to buy an iPad this year.
And I do so knowing that this gesture won’t save the planet singlehandedly, but knowing that it will make a difference. Somehow, someway.
Think about it: how many times have you heard a fundraising friend plead, “even five bucks helps”? Well, it’s true – because just five bucks from a hundred people equals $500 in good money that came pretty painlessly from many pockets. And funds from people like you and I are what send cleanup teams, wildlife veterinarians, biologists, researchers, volunteers and many others out into the natural world to effect change. No one person can do it alone, but together, by combining resources, we can make a difference.
So here’s where I need your help. Since initially broaching this subject on Facebook last week, I’ve received some great suggestions for worthy organizations from some very knowledgeable friends. But I want to open this up for your input. I know what I care about, but I want to know what you care about and I need your help selecting an organization to give to this year.
So please tell me – what’s important to you? If there’s an environmental cause, or a specific organization close to your heart, please advocate for your cause with a comment or an email, and spread the word to others so they can contribute their votes as well.
The only criteria are that any suggested organizations must be nonprofit, and causes must be focused on protecting our natural planet and/or its beasts. I’ll announce the chosen organization(s) on my blog on December 3rd.
And please, spread the word. The more the merrier. And if you ever find yourself with an extra $5 burning a hole in your pocket, please, please consider giving it away.
Your Nature Dork & Portland Wedding Photographer,
Jen Hecht, Luminous Studios
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