Technology, A Disturbance In Our Relationship With Nature.

Technology is an undoubtedly important part of society and everyday life in Fort Collins, Colorado, but at what cost?

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While technology makes everyday life easier, with millions of interfaces on the internet that can assist you with easy and complicated tasks, it may very well be destroying our connection with the natural world.

According to Peter Kahn, a psychologist at the University of Washington, says “With so much of life based on electronic representations of reality, humans risk losing touch with nature”. While this simple disconnection is seemingly small, it is the result of the disconnection that is a topic of national and world debate. Climate change or global warming is an example of what can be considered a result of the disconnection with nature. While people spend their time looking at a screen for a large part of their day, they may not notice what is happening in the natural world around them. While this may not seem like an issue on a daily basis, it becomes an issue over generations.

Kahn also claims that technology may be a distracting force from the natural world, for different generations may have a different perception of the natural world and what is considered a “healthy” natural world. This psychological disconnection is known as environmental generational amnesia. Kahn describes this disconnection as the difference in perception of the natural world between different ages of people.

Forest before and after logging. http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/04/53/50/4535082_7971bf5c.jpg

He uses the example of a forest that he grew up in, and how it once was thick, prior to logging. While someone who had seen the forest before the logging may have cringed at the logging of the healthy forest, someone of the next generation may see that same forest after it was logged, and perceive it to be a healthy forest due to not knowing the original state of the forest.

A counter claim to the idea that technology is destructive in our relationship with the natural world would be the claim that technology helps us save the natural world. While one person can make an individual choice to make a positive impact on the natural world, technology can arguably make a larger impact due to the large reach that technology mediums have. According to Yogendra Singh, “social movement is a collective mobilization of people in a society in an organized manner”, something that technology can aid, as it generates a large reach. If used correctly, technology could strengthen the relationship between people and their natural world by organizing social movements in the interest of preservation of the relationship that has been fractured in the Digital Age. An example of technology being used as a social driver would be the use of the internet by environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, an organization that has a Fort Collins Chapter.

Technology plays a large role in the life of the people in Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as many other places around the world. Technology is perceived as a helpful resource with no limitations or negative effects, but as we become immersed in technology we give up other relationships such as our relationship with nature to make room for technology. Although technology may play a role in the decline in the human relationship with the natural world, it is not completely destructive, as it can aid in social movement for environmental good. The issue may not be technology, but rather how much, and how we use it.

If you live in Fort Collins and you’re interested in reconnecting your relationship with nature, click here to find a couple places close to home for you to try out!