Compare and contrast Bill McKibben’s essay “Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi” and “Our Vanishing Night” by Verlyn Klinkenborg.

To compare Bill McKibben’s “Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi” with Verlyn Klinkenborg’s “Our Vanishing Night,” talk about their similar themes or their use of figurative language. To contrast the two essays, discuss their different depictions of emptiness.

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To compare the Bill McKibben essay with the essay by Verlyn Klinkenborg, consider the likeness of the themes. Both writers are focused on nature. Their perspectives aren’t cheerful. They zero in on the harm that humans and their activities have on the environment and other species. In “Our Vanishing Night,” Klinkenborg details pollution’s deleterious and lethal impact on a variety of birds. In “Curbing Nature’s Paparazzi,” McKibben argues that nature photography is abusive to animals, with photographers mistreating animals simply to create a compelling photograph.

Another point of comparison could be language. Klinkenborg and McKibben deploy metaphorical language to make their points. The night isn’t literally vanishing. Klinkenborg is speaking figuratively. He probably wants the reader to think about darkness's marginalization. Likewise, McKibben isn’t speaking about actual paparazzi. He’s not talking about people who relentlessly snap photos of public figures. McKibben probably wants readers to think about how the relationship between paparazzi and celebrities is like the relationship between nature photographers and animals—that is, it’s not a positive one.

To contrast the two essays, consider how each writer confronts emptiness. In Klinkenborg’s essay, he argues for a darkness that’s devoid of light. This would have a positive influence on humans and other species. In McKibben’s essay, he argues for a kind of emptiness. Yet McKibben’s barrenness is not so positive. McKibben believes nature photographers should be less positive. They shouldn’t show trees full of baboons. They should show trees absent of baboons so that viewers understand the deep problems sown by climate change.

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