“I had a list of things to look for during my visit to Singapore, and most of them were green. I found one on the very first day, as I wandered through an indoor mall in a jet-lagged haze. A walk around the shops was the most complex task my poor brain could cope with after a thirteen-hour flight from London, which had hurled me half a day forward in time. When my gaze alighted on a slice of pandan cake in a cafe window, I felt a surge of recognition.”
An excerpt from my piece ‘Green by Design’ in the Summer 2018 issue of Orion Magazine. If you haven’t seen it before, check it out. Every issue is beautifully designed and always a treat. It’s a subscription magazine, better read in print than online, but you can find selected free articles on the website.
So here we are, poised at a moment of crucial tension. Do we embrace cyberspace as part of the natural world, with all of its opportunities and flaws, or do we keep it at arm’s length, as an unnatural guilty pleasure we should not really enjoy?
I’m writing my first novel for twenty years. It’s new, but it’s also the culmination of all my previous books, fiction and nonfiction. So much so, in fact, that the brief final chapter of my 2013 ‘Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace’ might even turn into the introductory chapter of whatever this new book will be called.
So to bring myself up to speed, I’m sharing that last chapter at Medium. Writers often share the first chapter of a book but they rarely give away the ending. In this case, however, the ending is turning out to be the beginning of something else. So here it is. Am I on the right track? I welcome your comments. If you like it, please give me a clap or two. It all helps! Thank you.
Go to Medium to read Over and over again, cyberspace brings us back to the physical
Important note about Medium: Medium now has a paywall but they permit writers to give free access to friends. This link will allow you to read my piece even if you’ve used up your monthly allowance.
“We need more nature, not less technology.”
My 2017 book ‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ is one year old this month and I’m marking its first birthday with a permanent price reduction.
- Find out how our smartphones, tablets and computers connect us to the natural world.
- Learn 50 ways to bring your own digital life closer to nature.
- This book is not about giving up technology, it’s about opening up your life.
USA Paperback now $8.99 (was $10.99) Kindle now $4.00 (was $4.99) See at Amazon USA
UK Paperback now £6.40 (was £8.43) Kindle now £2.84 (was £3.81)* See at Amazon UK
Readers gave it 5 stars. This is what they said:
“New ideas about how we manage a healthy wired life which don’t involve turning off our devices. I like the range of suggested ways to stay connected with nature as well as the Internet. This book enables me to feel good about making the most of the technological advances which offer us different opportunities to live life to the full.”
“I have always had a deep connection to nature. I don’t need to worry about how much nature I experience. I walk a lot. I run usually in lovely countryside. Yet having finished this book there are things I am going to change in my work environment. As a writer I need to glue backside to seat for many hours. Having just finished writing a book myself my eyes hurt from the screen time and I had to immerse myself in nature for a bit before I could even begin to tackle all that online marketing… blog posts, tweets, articles for magazines etc that books entail. I thought I would never write another book again! I think a few small changes to my writing space and I will be onto the next book. Thank you Sue Thomas. I will be recommending this to some worried parents too.”
“Virtual or natural worlds? Both please! This book is a great reminder to explore the fusion between our virtual and natural worlds. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The book is full of great tips and activities for taking care of ourselves online and offline.”
“Really thought provoking. As someone who loves my digital life, it’s great to be told that I don’t need to feel guilty about that! I like the useful tips on how to create a better connection with my natural environment.”
“Humans are addicted to apps & devices engineered to attract & distract our attention, but we also are soothed by nature. We’re all conflicted about the amount of time we spend online, looking at our phones, and most people I know are increasingly ambivalent. So much of the critical writing about this dilemma is about weaning yourself, logging off. I like Thomas’ book because it strives for a middle ground — how to appreciate the natural world as a kind of antidote to the techno-trance.”
Feel better without logging off
*UK prices may vary because they are generated by Amazon from US prices