Stacking rocks is the Instagram influencers favorite past time in the wild. Their belief is that the ancient ritual will somehow bring them peace and maybe more followers. In reality, they are putting pebbles on top of each other, something that most toddlers perfected with bricks at age two. Despite the fact that it has no meaning, is incredibly easy, looks more odd than interesting and is all a bit pointless the trend of putting rocks on top of each other continues to grow.
Yet scientists are now trying to tell people to stop. While initially, it looked like the rocks were harming no one (except the people who scrolled past the terrible pictures and worse captions) it now appears they are doing damage.
No matter where you are, whether in a forest, by the sea, or up a mountain stacking rocks is disrupting the natural habitat. It is impossible to know at that moment what damage you have done. At best you have done nothing, more likely is that you have just disturbed a spider from its resting place, however, you may have inadvertently shown the spider’s hiding place to a predator or worse.
In one instance it will have no serious impact but as you start to walk along a popular tourist beach and see stack after stack of rocks, you realize these rocks add up. There is potentially larger damage taking place and your stack of rocks or cairn could be making an entire species go extinct.
This might sound a little over the top, and it is. However, if it allows Instagrammers to move on from this fad that is now long overplayed, so be it. More seriously, the phrase ‘leave no trace’ exists in nature for a reason. The phrase is not ‘leave no litter’, it is, leave no trace. So please go somewhere and try your best not to disturb it at all. Maybe even this time, go there and don’t make a post about it at all!