A Reddit user took to the r/anticonsumption thread earlier this year to downvote an airborne advertisement at a San Diego beach.
“We’d like to interrupt your family beach day with this ad for a strip club,” they wrote.
“Imagine hiking in the woods and seeing a billboard,” one Redditor similarly lamented a couple of years ago in response to a floating ad off Miami Beach, perhaps the top site for these types of atrocities. “Ruins the whole reason you went outside,” they went on to say about the commercialism.
Beachgoers and other outdoor enthusiasts have a right to be outraged. Many find nature calming, and studies show the outdoors can improve attention, lower stress, foster better moods, reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders, and increase empathy and cooperation.
Even listening to crashing waves or chirping crickets may help someone perform better on a cognitive test, according to a 2018 study cited by the American Psychological Association.
And just as people benefit from nature, the environment benefits from people’s connection to nature.
“When people are disconnected from nature, they aren’t motivated to work on wicked problems like climate change. We’re losing the environments that contribute to our flourishing,” said Lisa Nisbet, a psychologist who studies connectedness to nature. “The key question is, How do we help people feel connected to nature so we’re motivated to protect the places that will help us thrive?”
One commenter argued that the ad was “benign” because it wasn’t the worst of the worst.
“Could have been the LED billboard boat,” they wrote.
Nearly 10 years ago, HuffPost argued that banner ads were destroying America’s beaches via the noise pollution of the planes towing them. The aerial commercials are banned in Honolulu, just as all billboards are banned in Hawai‘i, Alaska, Vermont, and Maine.
“I just hate those,” wrote one commenter. “Every time I’m at the beach and these come up my first thought is f*** off. This is awful promo don’t they know?”
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