This Instagrammer is unapologetically shaming people into protecting California's Joshua Trees.

Joshua Tree National Park, an 800,000-acre nature preserve located about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, made news earlier this year as a victim of the 35-day government shutdown.

During the shutdown, many of the park rangers and staff were furloughed, leaving a large portion of the sprawling park unattended. This opened the pristine landscape to vandalism, camp fires, and illegal off-roading.

A few of the park’s iconic Joshua trees were destroyed during the shutdown as well.


Even though the shutdown is over and the park is fully staffed, the massive reserve is still susceptible to damage created by its visitors and their pets.

The park's namesake are its spiky trees with whirling branches that resemble vegetation in a Dr. Suess book. Joshua Trees can live to about 150 years, but some of the park’s largest trees may be much older.

Although they are called trees, the Joshuas are actually succulents with shallow root systems, so they're easily be damaged by people climbing, hanging, or pulling yoga poses on their limbs.

To help preserve the National Park’s fragile desert environment, an Instagmmer by the name of @JohsuaTreeHatesYou (JTHY) has been calling out tourists who disrespect the park rules via the “gospel of shame.”

JTHY’s favorite targets are tourists striking yoga poses while trampling on the delicate landscape in an attempt to spirituality signal their way into Instagram likes.

"Gone are the days of climbers and hikers who are familiar with nature and experience it to get away from the world, and without leaving a footprint," the anonymous Instagrammer told Upworthy via email.

"This new era of tourists come for the fashion show and Instagram likes," they continued. "They couldn't care less about destroying the place they claim to have had a 'magical' experience" in."

Although some may disagree with JTHY’s condescending, aggressive tone, we can all agree the Instagrammer is doing right by calling attention to the importance of preserving this delicate ecosystem.

After dutifully shaming Instagrammers for their photos in the comments section, JTHY will often educate them on the Joshua Tree:

Yucca brevifolia is a plant species belonging to the genus Yucca. It is tree-like in habit, which is reflected in its common names: Joshua tree, Yucca Palm, Tree Yucca, and Palm Tree Yucca.

Joshua Trees only grow in one place on Earth- the Mojave Desert (southeast California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.) The root system of a Joshua tree is incredibly shallow. Repeated abuse by tourists, (over three million visitors a year,) is slowly causing their demise, bringing them closer to being added to the endangered list. Joshua trees take roughly 60 years to mature, and can live up to 500+ years! The trunk consists of thousands of small fibers, and lacks annual growth rings. Its top-heavy weight is a recipe for disaster due to its shallow roots.

Hanging, climbing, sitting, swinging, standing, leaning, touching, hugging, supporting your yoga poses, hanging hammocks (or anything else,) on these PROTECTED succulents- (Joshua trees are not actually trees,) are all violations of County and City law…Not to mention incredibly dangerous for the Joshua trees themselves. Any sort of weight or pressure on the branch of a Joshua tree can cause it to break or fall over completely. See a dead one? Leave that alone as well. Dead trees become habitats for local wildlife whether they are still standing or on the ground.

Please be mindful and refrain from contributing to their extinction - you are NOT the ONLY person thinking it may be a “good idea” to use a Joshua tree as an Instagram photo prop!

Here are just a few of JTH's posts along with their comments.

"Just get over yourself already. A protected plant is actually more important than your Instagram likes... Smh. The fuck is wrong with people. "

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Well at least we know who's responsible.... For deleting comments instead of their dumb photo.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Anyone want to gift this lady a scholarship to Zoolander's School for Kids who can't read good? I'll never understand assholes like these...

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Submitted by a loyal follower, and simply hysterical.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Oh... You know... Just throwing hatchets at Joshua Trees.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Actions such as hanging from branches, climbing, sitting on branches, leaning on branches, supporting your yoga poses on trunks, hanging hammocks from branches, and standing on these PROTECTED trees are all things that are incredibly dangerous for them. They are in fact, a succulent- not a tree. Their roots are shallow, and repeated abuse by tourists, dangered list, which is why they are PROTECTED BY LAW.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Dead or alive, we prefer to have our trees standing if possible. It looks pretty, others can enjoy it, and animals can continue to use it as their habitat and as a safe place away from predators. If you want to claim something, learn to rock climb. There are plenty of organizations and guides that will help you on your journey.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Joshua Tree National Park is not here for you to have a 30 second "spiritual experience" while posing for an Instagram photo. Protected wildlife is not there as a photo prop. You can't handle this, then please venture elsewhere. The desert deserves better.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

When your soul is darker than a black steer's tuckus on a moonless prairie night. Actions such as hanging from branches, climbing, sitting on branches, leaning on branches, supporting your yoga poses on trunks, hanging hammocks from branches, and standing on these PROTECTED trees are all things that are incredibly dangerous for them.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Please don't dump paint all over the rocks.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

@subaru_usa pulling a @reebokclassics and using Joshua Tree abuse to promote their product. Did you have a permit to film? No. A ranger would not have let. This happen.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Pretty much over this whole "I abuse Joshua Trees because it's Christmas" bs.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Work on your balance, don't endanger a Joshua Tree. SO tired of these cliché tourist photos. Smh.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Karen A. and Karen B. seem to think that posing on Joshua Trees is cool. You suck, Karens. Most of the submissions we receive are like this--copycat "models" doing anything for Instagram likes. The is a national park, respect it, you fucking plebs.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Shout out to @what.joshua.trees.think for this amazing post

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Please don't litter in #jtnp, there are designated trash receptacles available in multiple campgrounds. Keep your #trash off our trees.

via JoshuaTreeHatesYou / Instagram

Posts that make their way to the feed come only after multiple attempts to inform the "park violator" of their misdeeds.

"Before any post is made, featuring a park or Joshua Tree violation, we make multiple attempts at polite education," JTHY told Upworthy. "If they STILL refuse to be educated, delete comments and block people, then their photo is captioned and posted. The entire goal is to get them to delete their post before it comes to this."

JTHY's game of Instagram whack-a-mole is important because every time someone posts a photo of themselves hurting the national park's natural landscape it's like pouring gasoline on a fire.

"Destroying Joshua Trees out of ignorance has become an Instagram craze and an enormous problem," JTHY told Upworthy. "It's quite literally an Instagram fad to take a photos while hanging and/or climbing on Joshua Trees. So if that post stays up, more people see it, and the fad continues to perpetuate itself."

via Jessie Eastland / Wikimedia Commons

Heroes

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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