Tag Archives: digital life

Choose more nature, not less technology

Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital AgeExcerpt from Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: How to feel better without logging off, by Sue Thomas.  Paperback and Kindle. Buy Now.

Perhaps you have noticed that digital guilt has become the media’s favourite way to fill an empty column or two? The smallest mention of the dangers of technology is guaranteed to make us shift uneasily as we scroll through our phones and tablets.

Remarks like this, for example, can really sting when you’re doing your best just to get through the day:

‘Reading Thoreau by the fire, fishing for trout, and playing chess over blackberry wine are just some of the pleasures I’ve found since I turned my back on tech’

wrote digital detoxer Mark Boyle.[i] Ouch! That makes me feel so inadequate, with my phone always in my pocket!

Actually, though, it doesn’t have to be like that.

‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ is not about turning your back on tech or anything else. It’s about re-balancing your life by choosing more nature, not less technology.

I wrote it for people who love their wired lives and the natural world, but worry they can’t have both. You can. Don’t fret. Don’t feel guilty. It really is possible. And there’s no need to turn off your phone if you don’t want to.

When my book ‘Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace’ was published in 2013, it triggered an important conversation. Readers told me they loved the idea of reconnecting with the natural world without having to give up their technology, but had no idea how to go about it. They wanted a simple guide, straightforward and inspiring, with practical activities to try. Here it is.

I hope that what you find here will encourage you to add more nature to your life. Read it outdoors if you can, perhaps while you’re in the park, or stretched out on the beach, or relaxing in the woods. Let it help you find your own tech/nature balance.

The book is in three parts. Part 1 explains what technobiophilia is, how I discovered it, and why it’s important. Part 2 contains personal stories and research about how our digital lives connect to nature. Part 3 is a list of 50 practical activities – tips, tricks and experiments to try. Dip in anywhere you like and bookmark your favourite pages.

The contents are adapted from material written since the publication of ‘Technobiophilia’ and include selections from my Wired Well-being column at The Conversation, as well as other journalism, blog posts and the occasional quotation. Some parts are new and previously unpublished.

Author Tristan Gooley wrote that

‘the joy of discovering a deep connection with nature is that it allows each of us to see each living thing, object and idea within its own intricate network.’[ii]

Of course, we ourselves are part of that network too, and so therefore is technology, because we made it. There are no boundaries. Organic and inorganic, human, animal, AI – we’re together on this planet, each a part of the whole.

This is an excerpt from Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: How to feel better without logging off, by Sue Thomas.  Paperback and Kindle. Buy Now.

I’d love to hear about your own stories and experiments. Please join me at the Digital Wellbeing Facebook Group to connect and share. 

[i] Boyle, Mark. ‘No bills, so many riches: the lessons of living like a prince outside cyberia’ The Guardian 6/2/17 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/06/life-without-technology-tech
 [ii] Gooley, T. How to Connect with Nature. Macmillan, 2014.

OUT NOW Paperback edition of ‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age’

When I published the Kindle edition of ‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age, I was quite surprised to find that lots of people I know don’t read e-books at all. They asked for a paperback version and I didn’t have one. But now I do.  It’s on sale at Amazon from today, so if you prefer paperbacks to e-books, now you can get one!

Is the paperback different from the e-book?

Just a tiny bit – the paperback includes a few images which were difficult to incorporate into the e-book. I’ve updated the structure and cover to match the paperback, so if you own an older copy of the e-book you’ll notice some changes to the way the content is organised, and some of the headings have changed, but basically it’s pretty much the same.

Buy the paperback

Digital Wellbeing Facebook Group

Join me in Facebook to discuss your own experiments and ideas on how we can feel better without logging off. There’s a lot to talk about!


Can you sense where north is? These people can.

Whenever I spend time in the USA  or Canada I’m always intrigued by the way they use compass points for directions. “Go north three blocks, then east two blocks,” helpful people tell me. They assume I know which direction north is, but I don’t have a clue. In the UK we’ve never located ourselves that way. I’m always baffled at how North Americans  actually know which way east or west is. I’m aware it’s often written on street signs, but I’m sure that people are deeply familiar with it in their own neighbourhoods. To me, it seems like a magical sixth sense.

But now I, too, can know where north is. Not just know it, but feel it. Liviu Babitz and Scott Cohen, co-founders of Cyborg Nest, have developed North Sense, “a miniature Artificial Sense, vibrating each time it faces the Magnetic North. Your North Sense will not depend on an internet, it’s a standalone artificial sensory organ, coated in the highest quality body-compatible materials”.

It sounds very exciting: “Our New Sensory Organs take inspiration from animals and nature. Designed by world experts, they require minimal invasion into the body. Once attached, a whole new range of experiences and emotions are unlocked.”

Josie Thaddeus-Johns  met the pair, and saw North Sense in the flesh, as it were. She described how Liviu Babitz opened his collar to reveal a small silicone gadget, the size of a matchbox, attached to his chest with two titanium bars that sit just under the skin. Most resembling a compact bike light, the North Sense that Babitz has attached is an artificial sense organ that delivers a short vibration every time the user faces North. Her article is long, intriguing and well worth the read. Find out more at The Guardian.