I work from home most of the time. Even before Corona. When I’m stuck at work or when I don’t feel like it, I look out the window. If a bird flew, I want to know what kind of bird it is. For this year – as a kind of compensation for the natural experience of many of Corona’s limitations – I decided to keep an accurate record of each day. So I know that the same seven species are almost always seen: blue and great breasts, blackbirds, woodland pigeons, magpies, hooded crows and sparrows. However, sometimes, others do appear: the tailed breast, birders, large spotted woodpeckers, and the plant’s beak are slightly irregular. There were also crows and lion-headed gulls. This is very good for a city apartment in Berlin. Two pieces are a small graveyard. And from this green space, biodiversity radiates into the open backyards.
When bird watching started, there were no smartphones, no internet for everyone, no streaming services. Had there been more digital distractions and temptations at the time, I might not have landed on this hobby that now allows me to appreciate natural wealth right on my doorstep. Today’s generation of grandparents may know more about the different types – perhaps those who grew up in the 1950s out of the home are more than kids of the 1970s and 1980s.
Of course, everything was better in the past! The ancient story has been known for more than 2000 years. In terms of nature, there really is a thing to it. Technology and digitization now occupy so much space in our lives that there is no longer any space left to experience nature.
In Storks Spezialfutter, environmental journalist Ralph Stork addresses the core of these questions once a month.
The natural sociologist Rainer Brammer was one of the first to scientifically research this topic in Germany. the first “Jugendreport Natur” was published in 1997 Among other things, he investigated the question of whether many children truly believed cows were purple because they were featured in a well-known chocolate advertisement. The good news: Only one percent of students surveyed said it was “purple.” The bad news: Until then, alienation from nature was evident. 60 percent of those surveyed found it uncomfortable for an insect to crawl on their hands. And 36% don’t recall one beautiful experience of nature.
More media consumption, less experiences in nature
The situation has not improved since then. In the 2016 Report 39 percent of those questioned said they liked to go to the woods on their own. In 2010 it was 53 percent. The report establishes a clear correlation between media consumption and nature’s experiences: 62 percent of young people who rarely go to the woods sit in front of a screen for three or more hours a day. For the young men who go to the woods almost every day, the figure is only 45 percent.
Those who are sitting in front of a screen for longer and thus less likely to be outdoors, will likely know fewer species. This seems plausible, but it cannot be proven with data.