National Tree Day Research 2018: Connect in Nature
Author: Jennifer McMillan
Every year Planet Ark undertakes research for National Tree Day, with the key objective of inspiring people to spend time in nature. This year’s research looks at Australians attitudes towards technology and the role it can play in enhancing time spent in nature.
From the research we found Australians spend just three per cent of their week in nature, yet almost three hours a day on their phones, primarily on social media. In an age where people are spending more time indoors immersed in technology, we wanted to know if it is possible to bring nature and technology together.
One third of Australians believe technology can have a positive effect on people’s time spent in nature and one in four Australians already use apps that encourage time spent in nature.
This year's theme Connect in Nature is not only about connecting with trees. It's also about building our relationship with other plants and animals, and 'connecting' with each other in person and through technology.
There are a number of apps that can help us understand the world outside our phones. Imagine you’re out on a bushwalk and you see a plant that you want to identify, there’s an app for that. A bird call you want to identify, there’s an app for that. Maintaining your garden, there’s an app for that. You can even contribute to global databases of scientific information and become a citizen scientist. Check out our list of recommended apps to get you started.
The next generation will not know a world without technology, we don’t want risk to leaving them behind. We want to tell positive stories to inspire others to get outside.
We asked Australians about their use of technology in nature and found that one in three Australians believe apps greatly enhance time spent in nature through making it easy to appreciate its beauty, learn information, navigate and exercise. We then we asked children ‘Can nature and technology be friends?’ and an eight-year-old girl answered, “Technology and nature are already friends, solar power.”