20 November 2020
Nature and Technology - The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
I've been reading and thinking about Nature and Technology for years, and one piece of writing that has really stood out and inspired me is Chapter 19: Online in The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. Here, I'm going to try to explain why I find it so useful.
- Firstly, let me disclose that I'm obsessed by Orkney, and Westray and Papa Westray, which is the base for this chapter of the Outrun, in particular. My great grandfather was born on Westray. When we visited Papa Westray last year, on an evening walk in the fog we came across the Old Churchyard, where many of the gravestones bore the name Drever. To me, reading about the area is boundlessly exciting in itself, and just reading the names of places and islands. The wifi gets relayed to Papa Westray from "Kirkwall to Shapinsay to Westray then to us".
The Pow of Keldie looks like a potential spot to swim at low tide. Mad Geo is dark and intense. For me, these places - 'The Sneck', 'Errival' - exist both digitally and underfoot.
- Amy is a digital native who is "medieval" about Wi-Fi, for whom the internet is a home. There is therefore none of the puritanical suspicion of technology that can be found in nature writing. Equally, there is a strong recognition of the negative impacts of our use of technology: the loneliness and compulstion of our "hyper-connection":
We spend too much time online and real life is just another window. What's the point in going out to look at wildlife when I can watch nature documentaries on YouTube, in bed with an electric blanket?