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As Local As Possible

Irish Photographer Gareth McCormack, on why he joined 1% for the Planet and why he supports the Irish Wildlife Trust.

Long before I started out on a career in landscape and travel photography I was passionate about the beauty of the natural world and keenly aware of the threats to its integrity. Landscape photographers often claim to be motivated by a desire to use their images to change public attitudes and perceptions on the environment. However in our increasingly media saturated world I feel it is becoming harder to influence change through environmental imagery – people have become desensitised. The other aspect of my line of work is that it is in no way more environmentally friendly than any other way of making a living. In truth photographers guzzle plenty of fossil fuel driving or flying between locations and despite our platitudes we are just as much a part of the problem as anyone else.

So when I heard about the 1% for the Planet campaign, I signed up immediately. For me it was a perfect way to realise my desire to effect some positive change on the health of our environment no matter how small. Now, rather than offering nebulous good intentions, I could point my clients to a tangible source of change. They could licence an image or buy a print or hire me for an assignment just like before, but now some of those resources were going back to a worthy cause. Yes I was having to dig into my bottom line, but not by an amount that has ever been close to being an issue.

When it came to choosing a beneficiary of my annual donation I decided to keep it as local as possible. Despite Ireland’s image abroad as a clean and green island we have actually suffered significant degradation to our landscape and natural habitats, so I was keen to support an organisation working to protect the Irish environment. As well as acting as both an advocate and educator the Irish Wildlife Trust maintains several nature reserves across Ireland. To my mind a landscape richer in habitats and biodiversity is a better place to live and work in and it feels right to be contributing towards this goal.

Gareth McCormack is a landscape and travel photographer based in County Sligo in the west of Ireland.

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