The Internet can be a dark and depressing place full of soul-sucking stories and gloomy Guses.
Thankfully a popular Reddit page brimming with amazing shots of animals and nature has become the antidote to all of that angst… and we can’t look away.
Nature Is Fucking Lit (NIFL) kicked off two years ago on the link-sharing site as a spinoff of another popular subreddit, Nature is Metal. According to one of the moderators, DXGypsy (real name withheld), Nature Is Mental “focuses on the violence and really badass imagery nature has to offer,” but they created NIFL as a happier place “to showcase nature at its most majestic and awe-inspiring.”
Awe-inspiring is one word for it.
Since the subreddit’s conception more than 1.6 million subscribers have lit it up with jaw-dropping photos of nature, animals, and landscapes. In a clever branding twist each post begins with the eye-catching fire emoji, with no reposts, “topics of human conceit,” or not-safe-for-work content allowed.
Moderators also request that all posts are high-energy and descriptive, which in turn creates learning opportunities and dialogue in the comments section.
“We are in a highly technological age. Many redditors live and work in city environments or in dull grey cube farms in front of computer screens,” DXGypsy says of the page’s popularity. “Nature is an escape from those confines.”
The Nature Network
Lit is one of many subreddits DXGypsy and his fellow moderators run in conjunction with what they refer to as “The Nature Network” of the social media platform.
It all started with Nature is Metal, an intense dive into the violent side of Mother Earth, but it extends to other subreddits. Nature Was Metal features dinosaurs and other extinct animals and plants. Humans Are Metal is the least nature-based of the group but it “gives the two-legged, thumb-bearing animals a place to showcase everything from their badassery to their buffoonery.”
And then there’s Nature Is Brutal, which DXGypsy refers to as “the most hardcore, bloody and gory of the nature subreddits.” He warns users need “nerves of steel” not to be squeamish for that (very graphic) subreddit because “nature is indeed red in tooth and claw.”
While anyone can post and share content on these pages, a team of moderators with a variety of impressive backgrounds work diligently behind-the-scenes to ensure all posts are legit. The gang includes zoology students and a veterinarian that weigh in on authenticity and accuracy, as well as people who are skilled in CSS design, bots, and automod filters, “to keep the subreddit operating smoothly,” according to DXGypsy.
Moderators with experience in public relations, promotion, and community interaction round out the impressive bunch.
NIFL branched out beyond photography in 2018 to give subscribers even more incentive to stop by. During Shark Week they hosted Q&As with a couple of “Shark Angels,” women who routinely dive with sharks and are involved with conservation efforts.
Meanwhile, DXGypsy also names AMAs (Ask Me Anything style interviews) with legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, naturalist David Mizejewski, and environmental reporter Sara Sneath as highlights of the past year.
A charitable place
As if photographs of delirious birds and snuggling elephants aren’t enough to warm your heart, NIFL also gives back to nature by donating to wildlife charities and organizations that help the same animals they showcase.
They’ve run several charity drives through the subreddit in celebration of follower milestones, such as when they hit 600,000, 700,000, and 1,000,000 subscribers. Subscribers chose the charities, which moderators then investigated and verified through Charity Watch to ensure all donations went towards what they were actually intended for.
“Collectively, subscribers donated over $30,000 to wildlife charities such as The Animal Welfare Institute, The Wildlife Conservation Network, and The International Anti-Poaching Foundation,” DXGypsy says.
Not bad for a space devoted to positive, upbeat shares.
“Nature has always held fascination for mankind. Especially so for those who don’t get to experience much of it for themselves very often,” DXGypsy adds.
“There is always the chance to see beauty and majesty in nature. Everything from a common squirrel, to an exotic super predator, to a massive tsunami. Nature touches something primal in all of us. Something that we can appreciate, fear, respect, and marvel at. Sometimes all at the same time.”