The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to environmentalism dates back over 60 years. From its Disneynature films division that raises awareness about our natural world through visually compelling films, to the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund that encourages guests and others to donate towards conservation, to a huge chunk of Walt Disney World that has been set aside as a dedicated wildlife preservation area, to the areas in the parks that demonstrate the importance of conversation (heck, look at the entire Disney’s Animal Kingdom park for evidence of this!), Disney is a company that seems truly committed to environmentalism, rather than just paying face to the notion of conservation in the interest of PR. Check out Walt Disney World’s environmental fact sheet for more information. Here are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken at Walt Disney World that fit the “nature” theme.
These last few photos aren’t the best, but they’re the ones that resonate the most with me personally because of their subject. Visiting The Living Seas in EPCOT Center as a small child, I became captivated by the manatees. My great-grandparents also wintered in Florida at the time, and whenever we visited them I’d want to go out looking for manatees (to my recollection, I never found any). These visits to The Living Seas sparked an interest in manatees and their safety that lasted far beyond just seeing them in a theme park (so to anyone who thinks what Disney is doing is insignificant–you never know what will make a lasting impact on a child). I purchased books about manatees, adopted manatees, and even did reports in school on manatees.
Manatees have no natural predators, but boats commonly cause harm to manatees. In fact, it’s estimated that around 41% of manatee deaths are caused by humans, with the vast majority of those deaths being due to water-craft collisions. Manatees are on the endangered lists of many international, federal, and Florida state organizations. To find out more about manatees, please visit Save the Manatee, an award-winning national nonprofit 501(c)(3) and membership-based organization established in 1981 by renowned singer/songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, and former U.S. Senator, Bob Graham.