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Before and After – Our Environment

2011 June 3

By Jeanethe Falvey

Until you find yourself rummaging through half stuck drawers of old photos at your parents’ house, you never notice how much the world around you has changed. You find that the grand old tree you once spent hours swinging from is no longer there, or the once small saplings around the house have finally grown into their majestic canopies. The cars in the driveway are probably different, and maybe the newer four legged family members are looking up, rather than protectively over you.

But thank goodness for photographs. For most of us, our past isn’t constantly before our eyes, but when it is, what a moment. How else could we laugh at the fluorescent mistakes of the ‘80s burned forever into photo paper nationwide? Whether it’s a revelation of time past or a walk down memory lane, holding a photograph is the most powerful way to see how much is different.

Step outside, beyond your usual world, and look around. How has time touched the landscape near you? I’ll never forget an area of forest near my hometown that was replaced by an outlet mall. While I have that memory, how great would it be to have a picture to compare to now? Could it influence the course of development, stopping people in their tracks as they realize, “I’d rather have a park for my kids to play in than yet another place to buy a shirt.”

The increasing pace of life has brought so much “stuff” everywhere we go that it’s hard to push it aside and imagine what once was, let alone what the natural world underneath it all looked like at an even earlier time.

Every Monday the State of the Environment team is choosing a place in our environment that was documented four decades ago, challenging you to photograph it today. The best “after” entries will be displayed alongside the originals in our 2012 exhibit.

This week tell us where YOU want to go. Search locations and weigh in; yours could be next! Perhaps Documerica didn’t capture a place near you, but join in anyway. Take a photo of the environment today as you see it. Find that cherished place of yours. Take a picture today for all of us.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey, a New Englander through and through and State of the Environment Project Lead U.S. EPA Office of External Affairs in Boston, Massachusetts

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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11 Responses leave one →
  1. Jorge Gerônimo Hipólito permalink
    June 4, 2011

    I was a child and lived on the farm. I studied in school from 07.00 to 12.00. Then my friends and I went swimming in river. But before the river we passed a small forest. I would say teen forest. This forest was home to local wildlife. We plunged into the river, sometimes the tops of trees. Time passed and the forest fou replaced by cane sugar. The river water has disappeared because of the large volume of sand. Today, Brazilian politicians want to change the law in order to make agriculture in place of forests. I feel the trees and animals that are still children.

  2. bharat permalink
    June 6, 2011

    we definitely agree with the child……. the forest should remain forest…..

  3. Online Logo Design permalink
    June 6, 2011

    Hey such a great post your shared with us. i am so glad to visit your site.
    i must say thanks for this. i really enjoyed it.

  4. Simplastics permalink
    June 7, 2011

    this is a good idea to compare how nature has changed specific areas over time.

    the picture you included in the post is a great example.
    the difference in between the photograph you’re holding and that field as it is now is amazing.

    thanks for coming up with fun ways to pay attention to nature and our surroundings!

  5. Jeanethe Falvey permalink
    June 7, 2011

    :) Thank you! I’m thrilled to see you enjoyed it, I hope you can join in on the project and share it with others!

  6. Jeanethe Falvey permalink
    June 7, 2011

    Thanks! The photo came from one of our Flickr fans, it certainly tells a positive story. I hope that this State of the Environment project inspires many more like it.

    Have all of you joined in yet? ;) I’ll be looking on Flickr! http://www.flickr.com/groups/1667216@N23/

  7. Flash Design permalink
    June 8, 2011

    Thanks for sharing and looks forwards to next one.

  8. bidet seat permalink
    June 13, 2011

    Environment do really change because of the improper usage of the humans in this world that we love

  9. Larry permalink
    June 17, 2011

    We all have to do our part. We recover and recycle freon.

  10. celi permalink
    November 25, 2012

    I really like it

  11. celi permalink
    November 25, 2012

    This is cool =)

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