Gadgets, Gizmos and Gardens

Are our lives poised to morph again with the introduction of yet another can’t-live-without-it gadget (the iPad) that will further separate us from each other and the land we live on?  How will this latest greatest thing really add to our quality of life in the way that gardens do?

I can surf the web anywhere via computer or smartphone, find the closest Starbucks in a town I’ve never been to on GPS , turn on the TV without getting up, track my fitness level, text my kid, order new plants, figure out how high a hill is, and never, ever have to really interact with another living being or thing.

I’m not sure how much more technology I can adopt before I burst at the seams. I’m not overloaded yet, but  I did not envision when I hand drew my first garden plan that I would spend my days wrestling with software, back lit screens and being constant contact with people (in some cases) I’ve never met in person.  I’m not saying it’s totally a bad thing, but it is all a bit disconcerting and overwhelming.  I worry that we will all become just a bit more isolated from each other.

9 thoughts on “Gadgets, Gizmos and Gardens

  1. Susan,

    You’ve touched on perhaps the most serious problem in our modern culture. As we learn that obesity among young people has resulted in a generational life-span expectancy shorter than their parents’, we really need to encourage our families and loved ones to counter their increasingly sedentary life with regular exercise.

    And, as you point out, isolation from other life forms is, and will continue to be, a very negative psychological impact on our society. I believe humans require stimulus and interaction from as many different life “colonies” as possible to help us understand true meaning and purpose.

    I am reminded of one native American’s evaluation of the white man – “smart, but not wise”.

    Now if I can just get away from this machine to go out for a pruning session – or at least some time on the treadmill! 😉

    Thanks for your insightful post – keep spreading the word.

    Best Regards,
    Dan Eskelson

    All of these conveniences from microwavable dinners, to debit cards and 24/7 access to everything as well as the gadgets are part of daily life. We have to keep on constantly shifting ourselves to keep on the plus rather than the minus side of things within the context of our own lives.

  2. I agree with you about being overwhelmed. I also worry about the environmental impact of yet another “must have” electronic device. I read that there are 42 million (I think) iphones. Just think about all that toxic waste and energy that it takes to build them, to say nothing of when the next toy comes along, those go in the landfill.

    The toxic waste from electronics is just another thoughtless byproduct that our march towards a more convenient future has created. Sure you can recycle computers and cellphones, but how many of us do that?

  3. Is it a bad thing that I don’t worry about this? Seriously. But equally serious is that you’ve brought up a very good point.

    In my defense, during winters previous to all this wonderful technology, I would nearly tear my hair out before winter finally came to a glorious end with daffodils popping up. It all makes SAD a little easier to deal with, somehow.

    No defense needed. I wouldn’t be wondering at all if I wasn’t using my own gadgets and gizmos. You are right on the money when you say it makes the winter easier…it’s less singular than a book, but I still read those on paper, the old fashioned way.

  4. Susan, your post, I believe, is what so many of us think about daily, and just don’t mention or take responsibility/action. So much to say on this topic that my eyes cross (in front of this back lit screen). I dare feel a rant coming on.

    So instead, I’ll offer this snippet from daily life: 15 yr old nephew gets his driver’s permit (sigh). We share tips for keeping to the middle of your lane while driving. His ideas stem from a scene from Halo (video game?) and what he learned on Facebook.

    My husband suggested time in the seat of a tractor, working on a farm like he did. Sigh.

    My 20 year old often pipes into conversations with completely salient points only to then qualify them by saying ‘I learned that by watching Internet cartoons, Mom.’ What can I say…

  5. I definitely hear the “overwhelming” — some days I feel sapped by the incessant squawks of tweets, cell phone, and emails, all without a genuine interaction. But I’m also grateful for technology’s ability to connect us with similar people across distances. I learn so much from the gardening community online, and I have a lot of clients who say they feel more connected b/c they can email or tweet whenever something’s on their mind.

    Coming home today, I saw a bumper sticker, “Who’s your farmer?” It’s like we have these beloved pets, these fresh-faced young men and women who bring us fresh food each week. But half of my warm, fuzzy interactions with my farmers are online! For every face to face interaction, there are a couple of online stories about the cows getting into the beet field or the former interns’ new farming venture. Just a reminder that it doesn’t need to be alienating.

    It’s not alienating, it’s overwhelming and definitely a growing part of contemporary Western culture. I have been overjoyed to participate in events that were only on-line that I would not have been able to participate in geographically. It’s a matter of balance.

  6. If folks are overwhelmed at all the newly introduced technology then I must be underwhelmed.
    Gasp- no tv, no cell phone, still drafts by hand and walks to the grocery store when the farmers market is on winter break.
    Just call me t-rex the designersauris .
    I think modern innovation is fantastic, especially for those who love all the new gadgets.
    If I wasn’t so busy scavenging recycle centers and the fields and forests for art supplies I might enjoy trying out a new medium.
    Kudo’s to those who embrace new technology just as much as those who still tinker with wooden building block.

    You blog and participate in other on-line media so designersauris or not you too are caught in the ‘net’–aren’t you?

  7. I find I am making offline connections even more so than I would have ever done without the technology. I’m off in July to a garden blog conference and I will meet a whole batch of interesting, new, engaged people I would have never before connected with if it wasn’t for the social networking going on in the world today. We all have to start spending more time connecting the dots offline and spend less time talking about how the next new gadget is going to ruin our ability to say hello to other human beings offline. I for one am excited about the future possibilities to make my world richer by the technology going on today. It isn’t perfect and neither was a letter.

    On one level I agree. On others not so much. I’ve made incredible friends and connections via SN and I’ve made a sincere effort to meet many of them face to face and will continue to do so. In fact, next month I will meet someone face to face whom I have only known online–for 10 years!

  8. My feeling overwhelmed is due to all the possibilities online and then having to decide when to QUIT. It’s all a wonder. As for the people aspect, I’ve been able to meet new people online, and talk to more people with similar interests than I have in years. I’ve brought a few of those friendships into the real (physical) world and that has been a gift.

    As for all the technology and gadgets … It hurts me to think about all the waste.

    As usual, Kari, you’re spot on! We would probably have never met if it wasn’t for social media…I agree wholeheartedly about the waste.

  9. technology in the form of social networking opens the playing field …eg no longer are designers purely dependant on the print industry for sharing ideas, products etc

    ..also I am beginning to think the traditional home business run by women at home with small children (ie me) may be the answer to work/life balance….having said that it is a difficult balancing act

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