Tomorrow I am giving a talk around the importance for designers to not strive for ‘digital litera...

Tomorrow I am giving a talk around the importance for designers to not strive for ‘digital literacy’ but rather for ‘nature literacy’.

I believe an understanding of our connection to nature is the only way people will find incentive to stop destroying it, and to make better decisions as creators. A willingness to spend time in nature every day is part of that mindshift.

Which is why I found this statistic so very disturbing. Our tech-centric world is teaching us to ignore nature:

"The average [US] person will now spend 93% of their life indoors.”

Only 7% of a lifetime outside. And likely a great deal of that time in environments made of concrete. This happens even though we know that a lack of exposure to sunlight is causing low energy levels, problems sleeping and depression.

Even though we inherently know how good we feel every time we immerse ourselves in greenery. My wife calls it “forest bathing” when we go on dog walks in the woods. And I recently learnt that this is simply a translation of the Japanese term ‘shinrin-yoku’, a term that emerged in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise. The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.

During my first months in the Fediverse in 2022 I had two people reach out and mention to me that my writings reminded them of #solarpunk, which I had up 'til then never heard of. Solarpunk aspires to provide an alternative way of viewing the future with humans living in symbiosis with nature and technology – a future where technology is not destructive but only used purposefully where it boosts universal wellbeing and an ability to harmonise with the nature we ourselves are a small part of. Not the masters of. Not disconnected from.

What Solarpunk does for me personally is to provide a way to speak about a alternative futures, rather than get stuck in always criticising the current illusions of inevitable futures.

In a breakout session tomorrow I will be trying out the Solarpunk futures cards as an aid in thinking differently about digital design.

Would love to hear if anyone has experience with running or participating in a Solarpunk-related workshop and the types of concepts or ideas that resonate and contribute to pursuing a different way of making products and services.

"It is estimated that 80% of the environmental impact of products is determined during the product design phase.” – Publications Office of the European Union

Solarpunk futures storytelling game (free cards available in PDF format):

A nice summary of the Solarpunk vision by Leonardo Amico:

Getting back to nature: how forest bathing can make us feel better

This is your brain on nature (National Geographic):