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Self(ie) Destruction: How Not To Ruin The World For The Sake Of A Photo

Nothing and no one is safe from our narcissism!

This just in: we can’t take selfies anymore without ruining everything.

Destruction has become its own genre of self-portraiture. We break things, harass lounging and peaceful animals, and ruin the fun for everyone. Our faces, apparently, are that important.

But “Are Selfies More Dangerous Than Sharks?” as a writer at Complex mused last year? Your first instinct might be to say “Probably not,” but statistics say the correct answer is “absolutely,” since people are more likely to be killed in the act of taking a selfie than, say, in the act of swimming with a school of sharks.

The better question, then, might be: “Should Sharks Be Afraid Of Selfies?”

The answer to that one, at least according to humankind’s track record so far, is a resounding “yes.”

So, now that we’re in the thick of summertime, and the promise of selfie season has swollen into full bloom, here’s a brief, cautionary list of what not to do when documenting those magical moments over the next few months. (Some videos and images may be disturbing to readers.)

A beautiful field of lavender becomes a casualty to those in search of the perfect purple selfie

Unlike the human heart, which most people will agree is relatively resilient, you can’t harvest lavender once it’s been crushed — a fact either unbeknownst or unmoving to tourists who visit Terre Bleu, Ont.’s largest lavender farm, to take artsy images for Instagram (or whatever).

Ian Baird, one of the Milton-area farm’s owners, told CTV News he’s noticed some tourists visiting the farm and crushing bulbs or flattening stalks of lavender while taking pictures.

And while having more visitors at the farm is a good thing for profit, farm owners also want visitors to feel connected to nature, an experience which seems to have been interrupted by ... vanity.

“The attraction should be a love of lavender,” one visitor told CTV News. “So when people are walking over what they are coming to photograph, it seems a little counterintuitive.”

Wildlife officials euthanize a bear cub after too many people take selfies with it

It’s tough to laugh at this one. Wildlife officials in Oregon were forced in June to euthanize a friendly black bear earlier this month after finding it had become too “habituated” to visitors who regularly fed and took selfies with it.

The young bear had become reliant on a cocktail of trail mix, sunflower seeds and cracked corn that passersby would routinely leave on the side of a highway near Henry Hagg Lake.

Officials determined the bear was likely to be aggressive if it came in contact with anyone, and decided it needed to be “lethally removed.”

Fishermen drag a hammerhead shark out of the water to take pictures with it

When interacting with endangered animals, which you likely don’t do on a day-to-day basis, you might get the urge to take a selfie.

Dear reader: don’t.

When three fishermen caught a great hammerhead shark on a public beach in Singer Island, Fla. last year, their first instinct was to drag it onto the shore so they, and a crowd of onlookers, could be photographed next to the animal.

This sort of handling greatly reduces a shark’s chances of surviving once it’s been put back into the ocean, according to a recent study.

Instagrammers trample a field of perfectly good sunflowers

Botanists, you might want to close your eyes for this one. The Bogle family wasn’t expecting much when they opened up their sunflower farm in Millgrove, Ont. to photographers in July. It was a good time, at first — families from all over were visiting, telling stories and making nice, according to The Globe and Mail.

“Then all of Toronto showed up,” Barry Bogle said.

Thanks to a viral internet post, thousands of people flocked to Millgrove on July 28 to take pictures in the sea of flowers, trampling the fragile crops and prompting the police to get involved.

“We asked one guy to leave, and he said, ‘Make me’ and wanted to fight,” Brad Bogle said.

The moral in the madness: if you love something, don’t let it go viral.

Tourists destroy a field of rare pink grass because they want better #content

Visitors observe a field of pink muhly grass from a respectable distance in Seoul, South Korea.
Visitors observe a field of pink muhly grass from a respectable distance in Seoul, South Korea.

Pink muhly grass is this frothy, feathery plant that blooms for about two months in the fall, mostly on plain prairies or along the borders of roads. It looks a bit like cotton candy — if cotton candy were three to four feet tall — or little pink clouds — if clouds could be pink.

Instagram, unfortunately, loves a good pink backdrop.

An entire field of muhly grass in eastern China had to be cut down after tourists worked their tourist magic last October, ignoring rope barriers to enter the 10-acre park and flattening patches of the grass for the sake of … art?

Newsflash: Endangered turtles don’t want photos with tourists

Picture this: there are the sea turtles, crawling out of the sparkling ocean water and up onto the Costa Rican beach, preparing to nest. The beach is, apparently, one of the four “most important sites in the world for nesting of olive ridley sea turtles,” a species which is classified as vulnerable (Today, there are 50 per cent fewer of the turtles than turtles there were in the 1960s).

You could easily mistake it for a moment in a NatGeo documentary. Then — record scratch — the tourists arrive.

Thanks to mobs of people in search of selfies, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles were scared out of laying their eggs. Hundreds of tourists swarmed the beach and decided to (a) pick up the turtles, (b) stand on top of their nests, and our personal favourite (c) place their children on top of the turtles for photographs.

Hey, Siri: remind everyone that endangered animals are not photo props!

Ride at Disneyland shuts down for two hours after a man pulls out his selfie stick

California Screamin' — the ride where it all happened
California Screamin' — the ride where it all happened

People who go to Disneyland, apparently, are fearless. Or shameless. Or both.

In 2015, riders on the California Screamin’ roller coaster in the Anaheim, Calif. theme park were stopped in their tracks, right at the onset of a drop, because a man wisely decided to pull out a selfie stick mid-ride.

Passengers were forced to evacuate the ride and walk the rest of the way down and the ride was closed for the next two hours.

Rare dolphin calf dies after being passed around for tourist selfies

Hot potato is not meant to be played with anything other than, well, a potato. Or something equally trivial. Most importantly, you aren’t supposed to play it with living things (For example: you wouldn’t play hot potato with a human baby, obviously).

Tourists on a busy beach near Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2016, however, seemed to think it would be OK to pluck a rare baby dolphin calf from the water and pass it around to take selfies with it.

Dolphins can’t stay out of water for too long, though, because they can become quickly dehydrated, and the dolphin calf ended up dying.

Man beheads a Portuguese king statue after its 126-year reign

The now-empty pedestal where the statue of Dom Sebastiao used to be.
The now-empty pedestal where the statue of Dom Sebastiao used to be.

The answer, apparently, is run.

This is exactly what a 24-year-old man did when he climbed on a statue of Dom Sebastiao in Lisbon and, in the process, knocked it to the floor. It shattered; he ran. The man was apprehended by police shortly after, and a spokesperson for Infrastructure Portugal told the Daily Mail he wasn’t sure when the statue might be repaired. That was in 2016.

Fine art might be finer if we left it alone.

Woman topples $200,000 worth of art for the perfect selfie

The footage shows us this: a visitor with dark hair, ambitious and aesthetically inclined, sizes up the exhibit at The 14th Factory in Los Angeles.

It’s a show of stylized crown sculptures, each perched atop a pedestal and arranged like a row of … dominoes. Dominoes.

You see where this is going?

The visitor has an idea! She hands her phone to a friend — a good friend never declines to photograph you — and tries to pose beneath a crown. She poses, and it could have been performance art: the visitor loses her balance and falls, sending a series of plinths toppling over and crashing to the floor, permanently destroying three sculptures and causing about $200,000 worth of damages.

Hopefully she got her photo ...

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