Big Yellow Taxi was written by Joni Mitchell and released on her Ladies of the Canyon album in 1970.Listening to Joni Mitchell since this song as a teenager, I was immediately convinced that there was something paradise-like about nature, and that converting nature to parking lots was a bad idea. Later in the life, I heard Joni Mitchell's lyrics swirling through my head as I worked in one rapidly urbanizing country after another, and saw gorgeous tropical countryside get swallowed up for cities which, more often than not, were overcrowded, polluted, congested and filled with massive amounts of concrete. In my home country, the USA, there were occasional attempts to construct buildings that fit into the natural environment--the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright come to mind--but for every eco-friendly property, there are hundreds of garish strip malls with their fluorescent lights and garish displays. From the song Big Yellow Taxi, I took away the sense that nature deserved to be protected, not because we make use of it, but simply because nature is beautiful, and much of what man has built in its place is surely not.
Having said that, I am much more of a city-person than a nature person, and what I generally photograph reflects that. My son argues that the more someone appreciates something, the more likely they are to make good photographs of it. Since my understanding and appreciation of nature is limited at best, I've included an assortment of nature photos from different parts of the world. These are followed by a small set of examples of what happens when "paradise gets paved, and they put up a parking lot."