Reconnecting with Nature in the Virtual Age

Reconnecting with Nature in the Virtual Age

The gap between people and nature is growing wider. A recent study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on December 14, 2022, revealed a concerning trend: on average, people now live 6.02 miles away from a natural area, a 7% increase compared to 2000. This distance is even greater in some parts of the world, with countries like Germany and France averaging 13.6 and 9.9 miles away from nature, respectively. The study’s researchers highlight that this trend is a global phenomenon, raising concerns about our collective disconnect from the natural world.

The Importance of Reconnection

The increasing disconnect from nature has important consequences. Numerous studies have shown that connecting with nature has psychological and physical benefits. Those who spend more time outdoors are generally happier, feel healthier, and find more meaning in their lives.

The Rise of Indoor Entertainment

Another reason for the disconnection could be technological advancements, especially the increasing popularity of indoor and virtual recreation. In the 1950s, television became widely popular, and in the 1970s, video games emerged as a new form of entertainment, becoming increasingly prevalent. The internet has also been consuming more leisure time since the late 1990s. It is reasonable to assume that these technologies have partly replaced nature as a source of recreation and entertainment.

Virtual Getaways: A Window to Untamed Beauty

Documentaries can be powerful portals to the natural world. High-definition nature films like “Planet Earth” or “Our Planet” offer immersive experiences that transport you to breathtaking landscapes and reveal the intricate wonders of various ecosystems. These virtual journeys can be particularly valuable for those living in urban environments with limited access to natural spaces. Witness the wildebeest migration on the African savanna, explore the ocean’s depths alongside playful dolphins, or trek through the lush rainforests filled with exotic life. These experiences ignite a sense of wonder and inspire future real-world adventures, potentially bridging the physical gap between humans and nature.

Tech for Good

Nature apps offer more than just stunning visuals they enhance outdoor experiences. Bird identification tools like Merlin by Cornell Lab of Ornithology can turn your local park into a haven for birding enthusiasts. Stargazing apps like Sky Guide can reveal constellations hidden by city lights, turning your backyard into a mini-observatory. Plant identification apps like iNaturalist can help you identify the flora around you, fostering a deeper appreciation for the variety of plant life.  

Bringing the Outdoors In

Creating a digital nature reserve on your devices can combat the growing physical gap. Set breathtaking landscapes or calming seascapes as your screensaver to remind you of the beauty beyond your window. You can also curate a playlist filled with nature sounds, such as the gentle babbling of a brook, the rhythmic crashing of waves on a shore, or the calming chirping of birds in the morning. Natural soundscapes can create a sense of tranquility during your workday and provide a relaxing atmosphere for sleep.

The Social Nature Network: Connecting with a Cause

Social media is often criticized for causing distractions, but it can also be used to reconnect with nature. Start by following nature photographers who capture stunning wildlife moments and breathtaking landscapes. Engage with environmental organizations that advocate for conservation efforts. You can also connect with local hiking or gardening groups to find others who share your passion for the outdoors. Social media can foster a sense of community and inspire action, allowing you to connect with like-minded individuals who can support your journey toward a more nature-connected life.

The Daily Dose of Green: Small Steps, Big Impact

Never underestimate the impact of small, daily actions. Taking a mindful walk during your lunch break, spending a few minutes tending a window box herb garden, or simply taking a deep breath of fresh air on your balcony can significantly improve your well-being. These seemingly insignificant actions reconnect you to the natural world, offering a much-needed respite from the digital chaos and helping to close the gap between humans and nature.

Reconnecting with nature doesn’t require a complete digital detox. By utilizing technology creatively and incorporating small, mindful practices into your daily routine, you can find your green fix and reap the numerous benefits of spending time in nature, even in a digital age. So, the next time you find yourself lost in the digital world, take a moment, step outside, and listen. The call of the wild is still there, waiting to be heard.


Voiijer is a social media platform that inspires people to explore the outdoors through immersive storytelling. Document and share your nature experiences by combining photos, videos, written notes, audio recordings, and 3D scans. Collaborate with friends and other nature enthusiasts to create a comprehensive story of your adventures. If you’re interested, you can sign up for Voiijer access here.