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Nature and technology: a societal disconnect

Troy Wilkenson
Troy Wilkenson

Technology is a double edged sword. It’s capable of spreading information at the blink of an eye, but has also made society incapable of waiting longer than a blink by consequence.

Along with destroying the average level of patience in society, technology debilitates other aspects as well. A societal disconnect has developed, attention spans have shortened, resource use has become too tremendous, along with a plethora of others from technologies influence. I see people acknowledge the almost inseparable bond between our eyes and our phones all the time.

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Solving these problems in no way calls for a reduction in the technology we use — most likely the amount of technology we use will always be growing. In order to solve these problems, society must lift nature to match technology and bring it to the forefront of society’s mindset.

Nature has all the solutions to technology’s problems. Technology is constantly demanding, instantly gratifying and a stressful ever-watching environment. Nature is the exact opposite. Nature can reset the human mind, making up for the disorienting lifestyle of constantly staring at a screen or holing up in a room all day.

It improves the mood of those who utilize it. When people spend time outside, research shows that they become more positive. This opposes the effects that technology has on the mind, which has shown to make people more frustrated — and even depressed — when taken to more serious cases.

Nature’s been shown to bring people together, or at least make them feel more connected to one another. It’s a confounding idea that technology connects the world and society so tremendously, but at the same time has made many people feel so distant. Not distant in the usual sense (we’re connected more than ever), but it seems most people can’t be alone anymore. Solitude is missing. Nature can bring people together: remember playing outside as a kid?

So nature can be a good thing — plenty of people already know that — but nature needs to have increased societal importance. Nature should be of equivalent importance to society as technology.

It boggles my mind that Congress is dealing with the most petty proposals — as Collegian columnist Sierra Cymes pointed out in her work about national park media regulation  instead of trying to save natural spaces from greater problems like pollution. These kind of acts display an extreme misunderstanding of what’s truly important.

Limiting the media coverage of national parks seems to me like a proposal that would only lessen the presence of nature in the daily life of the public, the exact opposite of what society needs. Here, in Colorado, things are much better in respect to society’s appreciation for nature, but that’s not always the case.

In large cities, nature is far from the minds of most inhabitants. If nature isn’t pushed to be a more central aspect of more people’s lives I fear societal disconnection will only continue to grow; people will become too dependent on their phones and laptops, and we will forget about taking care of our souls.

Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson can be reached at letters@collegian.com

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