How do you see nature? Are you part of nature or is it something better viewed from afar? The increasing amount of time spent looking at screens could be affecting how connected you feel to your environment. Get ready to unplug and reconnect to nature.
Chances are you are reading this on some kind of device. You could even be looking at one device, while browsing another. Without even knowing it, your actions could be having a negative impact on an important relationship. JCU PhD student Melusine Martin is exploring how digital technology is affecting people’s feelings of connectedness to their environment.
“One of the hypotheses of the research is that when you spend all day facing a screen, whether that’s a computer or a tablet, you will have some trouble connecting to nature,” she says. “If I asked you to describe yourself as a human being, I don’t think you would consider that nature and you are the same thing. There is this term called the nature deficit disorder. This is really a disease for western societies because we spend too much time inside, we spend too much time not in the sun or not breathing fresh air, which is not natural and not normal.”
Melusine’s thesis, Nature perceptions in the digital age and millennials’ feeling of connectedness to their environment in Australia and in the United States in the 21st century, will explore how people see nature and how modern technology affects people’s relationship to nature. Her fascination with environmental humanities began while she was completing her Master’s degree in France.
“I interviewed people living in eco-villages in the United States,” she says. “I was interested in how they relate to nature. Eco-villages are like living lost in the wild, but they’re still very modern. They have the internet and everything else but they’re in nature, which I think is a paradoxical situation.”