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It might surprise you to hear that technology can help you reconnect with the natural world. Most of the time, we see the digital world as the opposite of Mother Nature. It’s artificial, it’s virtual, and you spend a lot of time looking at a screen instead of the landscape.
You might even see technology as a contributor to environmental degradation. After all, the land and oceans are filling up with all sorts of junk, even up in space it’s full of discarded technology.
But you can use technology and the internet and your smart devices to help you not just connect with nature again, but gain a greater understanding of it, even help to save Nature! Here are some smart ways to start helping make a greener future.
1. Nature Apps
Yes, there does seem to be an app for everything, and the natural world is no exception. You don’t need to carry heavy guides and maps around with you.
You can hold everything on your smartphone, from national park guides to a bird, animal, and plant identification app. Look for apps like Leafsnap, which uses your photos to identify plants, Audubon’s apps for birds and even apps that will identify species from birdsong!
2. Become a citizen scientist
Wildlife organizations are increasing their capacity for field research by making apps available to help track wildlife numbers.
Organizations like Project Noah and the National Wildlife Federation rely on citizen participation to gather data on bird and animal sightings. You can also report sick or injured creatures on your smartphone.
You can contribute to large scale research projects tracking particular problems. If you find a starfish washed up on the beach, you can use the hashtag #sickstarfish to help track the mystery disease killing starfish around the world.
Citizen science is fun, gets you outdoors, and gives you a vital role in wildlife protection.
3. Educate yourself
The internet is crammed full of information that you can access with a few keystrokes. Stay up to date on the latest research on the natural world and see what people are doing to help protect endangered species.
Indigenous people around the world are using webcams and drones to protect animals like rhinos from poachers and to monitor illegal logging in sensitive rainforests and mining pollution of water sources.
Technology is a powerful tool that you can use to find out more about the natural world and to help save it for future generations.