Some people are quick to blame technology for the damage done to nature. They are undoubtedly in the wrong and hardly contemplate it. These people cannot see beyond what meets the eye. Surely, anyone on the surface level can see the trees being cut down to build factories and conclude that technology is harming nature. But if you ponder on the topic enough, you will realize that technology is inspired by nature. Not convinced yet? Let’s glance at some examples to spark the technology vs nature debate.
The addition of the rows of bumps to wind turbines to increase their efficiency is inspired by lumps on the fins of humpback whales. Also, the bullet train design that enables higher speed is influenced by the kingfisher beak. Humans have made choices over the centuries that have resulted in the deterioration of nature, no doubt. Moreover, technology has played its part in accelerating the capabilities it was developed for. Thus, can we truly blame technology for our complicated relationship with nature?
Influence of technology on our bond with nature
Our connection with nature has changed quite a lot since modern technology paved its path in our everyday lives. The impact of technology has been both a blessing and a curse in a way. Therefore, let us look at each in detail.
Positive effect of technology
Starting with the good part, technology is the universal language, so to say, so its wide-scale implementation comes as no surprise. Technology is making its way into the environmental sector as it did with others. We are facing global environmental challenges that need our immediate attention. Science and technology are playing an important role in identifying the cause of these problems and developing actions to combat them. Nevertheless, technology is called out for destroying the human affinity with nature. Consequently, researchers are working on technological nature, i.e., the type of technology that aims to simulate nature. We will look at this technology in detail in the further section.
Negative effect of technology
As our lives are moving towards digital representation, a disconnect with nature is undoubtedly happening. Few people are choosing to go out in nature while the majority remain stuck in front of their screens. Technology is becoming a source of distraction that is creating a gap between people and nature. The disconnection is only a part of the story—technology is indirectly destroying it, too. Because vehicles cannot move on rocky natural surfaces, they are rapidly getting replaced with man-made surfaces. While businesses can benefit from such measures, this is endangering the environment, especially plants and animals, and ultimately putting human lives at risk.
Significance of nature on our health and well-being
How often have people advised you to go on a trip to nature when you have been through some rough times? Probably most of the time. This is because nature seems to have magical power over your health and negative emotions. In terms of physical health, spending time in nature reduces blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate. Likewise, it reduces the production of stress hormones. Regarding well-being, it reduces unpleasant feelings including stress, fear, anger, and anxiety. Nature not only has a healing effect but also restoration capabilities. It improves people’s mood, contributing to psychological well-being.
The importance of nature for our survival cannot be denied or ignored. It is essential to our viability, right from the food we eat to the air we breathe. Nature is home to billions of species including us. In fact, you might have observed that children have an affinity for nature. But the everyday experience with nature is declining as we are advancing towards a technological world. In all these, we are at a loss as nature is crucial for the healthy development of individuals. Most importantly, interaction with nature teaches working in collaboration instead of dominating.
Technology vs nature: Co-existence or combination?
We have explored both the favorable and adverse influences of technology and shed light on the gravity of nature on our health and well-being. Now it’s time we analyze how they compete by taking a few key factors into account.
Human choices about nature
By now, you might have realized the problem doesn’t lie in technology. Instead, it is the poor choices that need to be rectified. Before modern technology, people cut down trees to build shelter and keep themselves warm. With the introduction of technology, our capabilities have expanded. While this is good for productivity and efficiency, it is harming nature. Until the raw materials taken from nature are regrown, the concern will persist. To sum up, it’s not technology that is damaging nature, but our flawed decisions.
We need to keep the ever-changing world in mind because technology expands based on our needs. In the dynamic world we live in, technology is the most trusted support system. It gives us the confidence to deal with potential problems. Consider the pandemic time, when the globe was in lockdown to minimize the spread of the virus. The interactions with nature were limited, and that’s where technological nature gained popularity. As mentioned, it’s a technology that emulates nature, i.e., the digital representation of the natural world. It includes Virtual Reality (VR) simulations taking users to parts of our planet. Furthermore, it incorporates nature-related audio and videos, which studies found have a positive impact on individuals.
Any remarks regarding technology vs nature?
Now that we have come to the end of the breakdown, we would like to know something. Do you think there is a competition between technology and nature? In essence, we understand nature through science and build tools in the form of technology. Therefore, ideally, it’s not technology vs nature, but our good choices versus bad choices regarding the implementation of technology and its subsequent consequence on nature. Lastly, we want to conclude that technology cannot be prioritized over nature and vice-versa. Instead, we must remember that both are integral to our lives, and upon making the right decisions, we can reap enriching benefits from their application.