Connecting with nature is good, but can software help us do it better?

Connecting with nature is good, but can software help us do it better?

I AM no appy person. Technology generally makes me glum. I was the last person I know to have a smartphone. I shop in real shops, and prefer to read on thinly sliced tree. I was on social media for most of six months before I came across the angst, bile and FOMO outweighed the LOLZ.

Call me a stick-in-the-mud. Actually do, because rather than head stuck in screen, I’d far rather be out getting my legs dirty somewhere glorious and green. And pardon me if you disagree, but I’m right and you’re wrong. We are able to leave the debate about whether screen time is of itself good, bad or indifferent for our psyches to some other time. We can say for certain that point spent outdoors in natural spaces is phenomenally beneficial, not simply for our physical health, but also for our mental well-being, too – and our modern, indoor, sedentary, tech-led lives are increasingly lacking it.

Tech itself appears to be trying to ride to the rescue. Countless smartphone software now try to increase our appreciation of the fantastic outdoors, from route planners and fitness programs to plant identifiers and birdsong recorders, via any types of mindfulness widgets.

To my mind, that’s like fighting fire with fire. But hey, we like evidence around here. So I thrilled my phone, loaded it with programs and headed for the fantastic green yonder to find out whether tech could increase my connection with nature – and during that, perhaps understand a bit more about why it’s so darn best for us.

1 May 5.20am @51.270:0.532

A waning supermoon is visible as I peer …

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