Technology and nature are often viewed as being in direct conflict with one another, two titans warring for the hearts and souls of the general public. The consensus seems to be that they are forever destined to be at war with one another; that technology, the aggressor, will one day subsume and eradicate the natural world.
But here at Gerent, we hold a very different view. Instead of believing that nature and technology are locked in eternal battle, with one inevitably winning out over the other, we view their roles as intersectional.
We recognize that the tech industry has done damage to the natural world. However, we don’t believe this effect is inevitable or unavoidable. Whether the device involved is a patented tool used to conduct manual labor or CRM software meant to optimize business practices, technology's role is to help us do what is important to us. Since the beginning, humans have used tools to survive in nature; our modern technology, while advanced, is merely the next generation.
Unfortunately, humans haven’t yet managed to strike a balance between the digital and natural worlds. Instead, drawn to the interconnectivity of technology and the vast landscapes within digital platforms, current and future generations are becoming disconnected from the natural world.
Recent studies have found:
- Over 60% of adults report spending less than 5 hours outdoors each week, with most participants feeling that their isolation from the natural world was increasing.
- 94% of children ages 3 to 18 have access to the internet through a family device, and 53% of children have their own smartphone before turning 11.
- The average child spends over 7 hours a day in front of a screen and only 4 to 7 minutes playing outside daily.
- Research suggests that an overreliance on technology during childhood correlates to increased rates of obesity, vision and sleep problems, disconnection from families, and even some cognitive challenges.
Unfortunately, as progress marches forward and technology integrates into every facet of our lives, current and future generations treat the natural world as less and less vital. The pandemic exacerbated this effect, forcing us indoors and limiting most interactions to online mediums.
But at Gerent, we maintain hope. We believe that both technology and nature play prominent, necessary roles in all of our lives. Why not, then, integrate them to each other’s benefit and the benefit of all of us? Technology and nature do not have to be adversaries, duking it out for supremacy in some cynical, apocalyptic vision of the future. Instead, we can use technology to benefit nature and the human race as a whole.
After all, spending time in the natural world has been known to have significant benefits, including:
- Cognitive Benefits — Even being exposed to the natural world for less than 40 seconds has positively affected student attention spans and memory.
- Long-term health — One study by PNAS showed that exposure to green space resulted in a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders later in life.
- Immediate well-being — Feeling connected to nature, no matter how much or little time is spent outside, has been shown to improve feelings of immediate well-being.
These findings suggest that the human brain is wired to spend time outside and feel connected to nature.
At Gerent, we love both technology and nature, and it grieves us to see the two posited as enemies. Recognizing that problems begin to develop when one of these two halves is neglected, as our relationship with one impacts the other, we seek ways to integrate the two and benefit all involved. In the right hands, we believe that technology can rectify the damage done to the natural world and help us rediscover and reconnect with nature.
Through Gerent Gives, we have been able to give back to the environment in many ways. By partnering with One Tree Planted, we sponsored 14 trees for every employee in our family, planting over 3,000 trees as a result. We also partner with organizations such as Blessings in a Backpack, UNICEF, the Coral Reef Alliance, and Charity: Water to provide humanitarian and environmental aid wherever we can.
Our activism doesn’t stop there, though. We're actively working on initiatives that help Gerent employees and families reconnect with nature, sponsoring tools like nature-exploration apps that get kids treasure hunting outdoors, and encouraging employees to participate in seasonal nature activities. We are always looking for new ways to make our mission manifest, sponsoring the use of tech in environmental initiatives, giving back to the earth, and using our influence to develop a better future for all.
As we move into the future, we look forward to demonstrating the power of technology to better lives, rectify the damage done to the environment, and construct a world upheld and interconnected through nature and technology. If you’d like to work with Gerent Gives or learn more about the initiatives we’re involved in, check out our microsite!