All posts tagged: Digital Culture

Volunteers Wanted

Do you like to go outside? Do you hike? Walk? Meander? Saunter? Are you a Flaneur in nature? Are you a “mall walker?” Do you use a pedometer at work? Do you also enjoy new and interesting things on the Internet? I am looking for volunteers to use the National Park Service’s iHike program to assist in an exploration of the website. The NPS created a fascinating program geared toward getting more people outside under the federal Let’s Move! program, and I want to see how well it works. iHike, The National Park Service Please consider participating in a very low-key experience. No particular skills are necessary, just a willingness to have fun in nature and post about it through iHike. If you wish to participate, please contact Sarah by May 5, 2017.   Advertisements

Can Digital Technology Make Us More Compassionate to the Environment?

When was the last time you took a cell phone out of your pocket to snap a picture of a landscape or sunset for your Instagram account? #nature #mountains #sunset #inspiration #earth #outdoors #tranquility #breathtaking #OMG Do you ever watch Youtube videos of summit groups on the top of Mount Everest or rock climbers in the High Sierra? Are you super excited about the new season of the BBC’s Planet Earth? Why are Americans drawn to experiencing nature through their screen? One could say that this is a natural evolution from the genre of naturalist writing (think: Thoreau) to the medium that most Americans consume today in a visually based culture. As cultural historian Karal Ann Marling writes, the increased popularity of television in the 1950s produced an American popular culture where the visual became the most important of the five senses.[1] The way Americans interact with the world today is directly connected to the visual aspect of things. In fact, reading about and looking at nature are entirely different experiences that may show us a little of what …

“The Consumption of Scenery:” Ideas on Nature and the Digital Screen

“By emphasizing visitor convenience, expediency, and comfort, we have made the national park synonymous with the theme park. In the national park the theme is scenery, not experiencing the environment on its own terms. Park visitors consume scenery in our national parks as much as they consume the obviously synthetic scenery in a Disney World jungle. The experience is easy and painless, no matter the visitor’s age, physical condition, or mental preparation for his visit. Under such circumstances, park visitors are not meaningfully in the natural environment so much as watching the environment, as if it were on television instead of before their eyes.” John Miller, Egotopia: Narcissism and the New American Landscape (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1997): 59.   Ken Burns calls the National Parks, “America’s best idea,” but it might be an idea that slipped our minds. Since the 1800s, the American system inspired countries all over the planet to create preserved spaces, sacred to the people and in protection of increasingly vulnerable wildlife. Lately, I devote my time to perusing …