Do you remember when, long, long ago, there was a time when parents would tell kids to tear themselves away from the television, and go outside and play? When they were kids, their parents would say all they needed was a patch of lawn and a stick to have a good time. And that scenario was obviously the better option, given that some quality time with a stick was healthy, and came with the added benefit of direct sunlight.
But that was the good old days, when the only dangerous electronic device around was the television. Now kids, and adults, must face the ‘bigger threats’ of video games, Netflix, and the dreaded smartphone that lets us do everything from play at online casinos to send emails and, wait for it: watch TV shows. It seems that, more than ever before, technology is hell bent on keeping us separate from the glory that is nature.
What is often overlooked, however, is that modern technology could actually be the best gateway possible into nature.
Technology – The Ultimate Nature Gateway
Some may declare that using technology as a gateway to nature is like demanding that cats and dogs simply set aside their differences, and go have tea together. Though, given that most domesticated dogs and cats living under the same roof are firm friends, the idea clearly deserves a good look before being written off.
A smartphone app called Go Jauntly is one of many that aim to help people connect with nature, via the use of technology. Created by a group of Londoners, the app simply guides users around various locations in London, helping them see beautiful sights and sounds, and ancient cemeteries and parks, all without having to leave the city.
Using Technology For Good
And this simple application is just the beginning. Other, far more advanced apps exist, greatly assisting people in getting the most out of nature. An app called Geocaching is perhaps the most ambitious, and certainly a great way to fool people into thinking nature is just a video game, and so more appealing than previously thought. The app, using GPS technology, hides digital treasure in secret outdoor locations. The user must find the treasure using their phone as a tracker.
The iBird Explorer app is perhaps more for those who already like the outdoors somewhat. It marks on a map where certain birds can be found, plus it gives a number of information on how the bird can be identified. Hence, the information allows a person to seek out the bird and attempt to photograph it, something similar to catching Pokémon.
Park Finder is perhaps the least original app, and perhaps intended for when people have already been lured into liking nature. It simply identifies nearby parks, and allows a person to get that park in an orderly fashion.
Nature – Even Better When Augmented
But simple phone applications are just the beginning. What would really make nature appealing to the new generations is if it had an added, interesting layer of technology pasted over it. Augmented reality is still in the early days, but promises startling new levels of powerful features that will change the way we see the world forever. Including nature.
Imagine walking around a plain old boring garden, seeing nothing more than lame fluttering butterflies and sparkling roses. Then; slip a pair of goggles over your eyes and bang! Now those fluttering insects have labels, identifying them, and the roses have added text boxes that inform of their native region. Nature turns futuristic, and hence more appealing to young people, in one second flat.
It seems that, whichever way you look at it, tech is helping us appreciate nature in a whole new, and rather surprising way. Perhaps apps that encourage us to go outside are the modern version of mom telling us to turn off the TV and go play outside?