Hyperdenaturalisation: The technological exodus from nature


As technology advances, are we losing touch with the natural world that once defined us? This phenomenon, which I call ‘hyperdenaturalisation’, reflects our increasing disconnection from nature. In his seminal works, Jean Baudrillard introduced the concept of hyper-reality, where the line between reality and simulation is blurred, creating an environment where the artificial becomes more real than the natural. This concept has become profoundly relevant in our time, where escapism is not just a retreat from reality, but a complete departure from the natural world.

Today, the technological landscapes created by human ingenuity offer immersive, synthetic experiences that often feel more tangible and desirable than the organic world. With the rise of AI, virtual reality and digital platforms, we are witnessing an unprecedented detachment from natural environments. This disengagement is not just a cultural trend, but a significant evolution in human interaction with our environment, one that has intensified since the first Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution marked a turning point in human history, when machines began to dominate daily life and urbanisation created environments very different from the agrarian settings of the past. As we progressed, capitalism further drove the separation between humans and nature, promoting consumerism and synthetic lifestyles at the expense of environmental degradation. This relentless pursuit of profit and comfort has brought us to a critical juncture where the very nature of our existence is being reshaped by technology.

In this blog post, we will explore the historical context of this phenomenon, examine current trends that are accelerating hyperdenaturalisation, and reflect on the psychological and social implications of our growing disconnection from nature. We will also discuss the environmental challenges posed by this shift and propose possible solutions to mitigate its negative effects. Our journey through hyperdenaturalisation aims to shed light on the complex interplay between technological progress and our intrinsic connection to the natural world, and to urge a balanced approach to future progress.

(I cant address everything in detail, but I wanted to give space to my idea and the thoughts behind it.)

Historical Perspective

The Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 18th century, marked the beginning of humanity’s large-scale departure from nature. Prior to this period, human societies were predominantly agrarian, deeply intertwined with natural cycles and environments. People lived off the land, relying on agriculture, hunting and foraging, with a direct and constant connection to the natural world. However, the advent of the Industrial Revolution brought profound changes that reshaped this relationship.

The Industrial Shift

The Industrial Revolution introduced machines that could perform tasks previously done by hand, leading to increased productivity and the rise of factories. Cities expanded rapidly as people moved from rural areas in search of work, leading to the development of urban environments that were very different from the countryside. This migration caused a significant change in the way people interacted with their environment. Instead of living in harmony with nature (I will leave open what the nature of humanity is, others have discussed this in more detail, but I would argue that the decoupling we are currently experiencing is not natural), they began to live in densely populated urban centres where nature was controlled, relegated to parks and gardens, or absent altogether.

Capitalism and Consumerism

The rise of capitalism during this period further exacerbated the separation from nature. The capitalist economy thrives on continuous growth and consumption, often at the expense of the environment. Natural resources were exploited at an unprecedented rate to fuel industrial growth, leading to deforestation, pollution and the depletion of natural habitats. A consumer culture emerged that encouraged people to buy goods produced by these new industries, often made from synthetic materials and designed to be thrown away. This consumer culture promoted lifestyles that were increasingly disconnected from nature, prioritising convenience and comfort over environmental sustainability.

Technological Advancements

As technology advanced, the pace of life quickened and society became more dependent on machines. The invention of the steam engine, electricity and later the internal combustion engine revolutionised transport and industry and made it possible to transform landscapes on a massive scale. These technologies enabled humans to dominate and manipulate their environment in ways previously unimaginable. Railways, motorways and factories transformed natural landscapes into industrial and urban ones, further distancing people from their natural roots.

Urbanization and Environmental Impact

The rapid urbanisation that accompanied industrialisation had significant environmental impacts. Cities grew without adequate planning for sustainability, leading to widespread pollution and poor living conditions. The focus was on economic growth rather than environmental protection. This period saw the rise of smokestacks and sprawling industrial complexes, contributing to air and water pollution and the degradation of natural landscapes. The natural world became something to be controlled and exploited rather than cherished and preserved.

Cultural Shifts

Alongside these economic and technological changes, cultural changes also played a role in the process of denaturalisation. The Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution emphasised human dominance over nature and promoted the idea that nature could and should be tamed and harnessed for human benefit. This intellectual movement laid the foundations for a worldview that saw humans as separate from and superior to nature, further justifying the exploitation of natural resources.

Post-Industrial Era and Digital Revolution

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the post-industrial era and the digital revolution have only accelerated the trend towards hyperdenaturalisation. With the advent of digital technology, the internet and AI, separation from nature has reached new heights. People now spend a significant portion of their lives in virtual environments, engaging with the world through screens and devices rather than through direct physical interaction. This digital shift has created a new level of abstraction from the natural world, intensifying the separation that began with the Industrial Revolution.

The historical perspective of hyperdenaturalisation illustrates how technological and economic developments have progressively distanced humanity from nature. From the initial disruptions of the Industrial Revolution to the current digital age, each step has contributed to a growing disconnect. Understanding this historical context is crucial to addressing the current and future challenges of hyperdenaturalisation.

References for further Reading

  • Foster, J. B. (2000). Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature. Monthly Review Press.
  • Smil, V. (2005). Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact. Oxford University Press.
  • Merchant, C. (1980). The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution. Harper & Row.
  • Turkle, S. (2011). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books.

Current Trends

In today’s world, technological escapism has become the norm, contributing significantly to the phenomenon of hyperdenaturalisation. Rapid advances in AI, virtual reality and social media are at the forefront of this shift, creating environments that often feel more immersive and engaging than the natural world.

Technological Escapism

Modern technology offers unprecedented opportunities for escapism. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies allow users to immerse themselves in completely artificial environments, creating experiences that are often more engaging than real-world interactions. For example, VR platforms such as Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR offer users immersive gaming experiences, virtual travel and even simulated social interactions, all from the comfort of their own homes. These technologies offer a form of escapism that replaces the need for natural experiences, drawing people further away from nature and into artificial worlds.

Social Media and Digital Presence

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have created a digital realm where individuals spend a significant part of their lives (which can be seen as Hyperreality). These platforms offer a curated, often idealised version of reality that can be more engaging than the natural world. The constant stream of content, instant gratification and the ability to create a perfect online persona all contribute to the appeal of these digital environments. This shift towards a digital presence reduces the time and inclination to engage with nature, and encourages disconnection from the natural environment.

AI and Smart Technologies

The integration of AI into everyday life has also accelerated hyper-naturalisation. Smart homes equipped with AI-driven assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant can manage household tasks, control climate settings and even order groceries, minimising the need for human interaction with the outside world. Autonomous vehicles and drones are transforming transport and delivery services, reducing the need for people to leave their homes. AI’s role in creating hyper-realistic simulations, from virtual assistants to AI-generated art and entertainment, is blurring the line between the artificial and the natural, making it easier to retreat into a tech-driven existence.

Consumer Culture and Artificial Environments

Consumer culture, fuelled by capitalism and technological advances, promotes the creation and consumption of artificial environments. From shopping malls and entertainment complexes to theme parks and fake beaches, these environments are designed to provide controlled, predictable experiences that mimic or replace natural environments. The focus on convenience and entertainment over genuine natural interactions perpetuates the trend of hyper-naturalisation, creating a cycle in which people prefer artificial environments to the unpredictability and authenticity of nature.

Environmental Disconnection

Increasing distance from nature has wider implications for environmental awareness and conservation efforts. As people become more removed from natural environments, their understanding and appreciation of the environment diminishes. This disconnection can lead to apathy towards environmental issues, reducing the motivation to engage in sustainable practices or support conservation initiatives. The virtual experiences provided by technology, while engaging, cannot replace the sensory and emotional connections fostered by direct interaction with nature.

Human Element and impacts

The human element in the phenomenon of hyperdenaturalisation is deeply intertwined with our innate tendencies, psychological well-being and social dynamics. As we become increasingly disconnected from nature, the consequences are manifold, affecting mental health, social structures and our overall quality of life.

Innate Tendencies

Humans have always attempted to manipulate their environment to improve their lives. From building shelters to developing agriculture, our ancestors used their minds to create safer, more comfortable and more efficient ways of living. This drive to innovate and improve is a fundamental aspect of human nature. However, as technology has advanced, the scale and impact of our manipulation of the environment has grown exponentially. What began as a means of survival has evolved into a complex web of technological dependencies that distance us from the natural world.

Mental Health Impacts

The psychological effects of hyperdenaturalization are profound. Research consistently shows that spending time in nature is beneficial to mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Exposure to nature has been linked to improved mood, cognitive function and overall well-being. In contrast, urban living and excessive screen time can contribute to mental health problems. For example, a University of Michigan study found that walking in nature led to significant improvements in mood and cognitive performance compared to walking in an urban environment. As people spend more time in artificial environments, these mental health benefits are lost, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.

Social Consequences

The shift away from nature also affects social dynamics. In natural environments, communities often form around common activities such as farming, fishing or hiking. These activities foster social bonds and a sense of community. In contrast, modern urban environments and digital interactions can be isolating. While the rise of social media connects people across distances, it often lacks the depth and authenticity of face-to-face interactions. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, heavy social media users were three times more likely to feel socially isolated than those who used social media less frequently.

Loss of Natural Connection

Hyperdenaturalisation also leads to a loss of connection with the natural world. This disconnection can lead to a reduced appreciation of the environment and a lack of awareness of ecological issues. People who are less connected to nature are less likely to engage in conservation efforts or support sustainable practices. This apathy towards nature can exacerbate environmental problems as fewer people take action to address issues such as climate change, deforestation and pollution. A study published in Ecopsychology found that people with stronger connections to nature were more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviour.

Cultural Shifts

The cultural implications of hyperdenaturalisation are significant. Historically, many cultures have placed a high value on their relationship with the natural world. Indigenous cultures, for example, often regard nature as sacred and integral to their identity and way of life. However, as societies become more technologically advanced, these cultural connections to nature can weaken. The dominance of a consumer-driven, technology-focused culture can overshadow traditional values that emphasise harmony with the natural world. This cultural shift can lead to a homogenisation of experiences and a loss of cultural diversity.

Technological Dependence

As we become more dependent on technology, our skills and abilities to navigate and interact with the natural world can diminish. Basic survival skills such as foraging, farming and understanding natural weather patterns are becoming less common in modern societies. This reliance on technology can make individuals and communities more vulnerable in situations where technology fails or is inaccessible. For example, natural disasters that disrupt technological infrastructure can have a greater impact on populations that lack basic survival skills.

In conclusion, the human element and the implications of hyperdenaturalisation are complex and far-reaching. Our innate tendencies to manipulate our environment, combined with the psychological, social, cultural and economic consequences of disconnection from nature, present significant challenges. However, by understanding these impacts and promoting reconnection with the natural world, we can mitigate the negative effects and foster a more balanced relationship between technology and nature.


  • Mayer, F. S., Frantz, C. M., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., & Dolliver, K. (2009). Why is nature beneficial? The role of connectedness to nature. Environment and Behavior, 41(5), 607-643.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Sidani, J. E., Whaite, E. O., Lin, L. Y., Rosen, D., … & Miller, E. (2017). Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.
  • Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Challenges and Opportunities

The phenomenon of hyperdenaturalisation presents a number of challenges and opportunities as we navigate the future of our relationship with technology and nature. While disconnection from nature raises significant environmental, social and health issues, it also opens up opportunities for innovative solutions and sustainable practices.

Environmental Challenges

One of the most pressing challenges of hyperdenaturalisation is the environmental degradation it exacerbates. The exploitation of natural resources for industrial growth and consumerism has led to deforestation, pollution and loss of biodiversity. Climate change, caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions from industrial activities and transport, threatens ecosystems and human societies worldwide. Separation from nature makes it easier to ignore the ecological footprint of our actions, perpetuating unsustainable practices.

One example: The Amazon rainforest, often referred to as the ‘lungs of the earth’, is being rapidly deforested for agriculture and logging, contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss. This destruction is driven by a demand for resources that often goes unnoticed by those disconnected from the natural world.

Health and Well-being Challenges

Withdrawal from natural environments affects physical and mental health. Increased screen time, sedentary lifestyles and reduced outdoor activity are linked to health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental disorders. Lack of exposure to natural environments can lead to nature deficit disorder, characterised by reduced attention span, creativity and emotional well-being.

One example: Studies have shown that children who spend more time indoors and less time in nature have a higher risk of developing conditions such as ADHD and anxiety. Nature-based therapies and outdoor activities have been shown to improve mental health and cognitive function.

Opportunities for Sustainable Practices

Despite these challenges, there are significant opportunities to address over-development through sustainable practices and innovative solutions. The use of green technology and sustainable urban planning can help integrate nature into modern living environments, promoting healthier and more balanced lifestyles. More-than-human designs in smart cities are to mention here.

Urban green spaces: Cities can incorporate green spaces such as parks, community gardens and green roofs to provide residents with access to nature. These spaces not only improve air quality and reduce urban heat islands, but also encourage physical activity and social interaction.

One example: New York City’s High Line is an elevated park built on a disused railway line, providing green space in a densely populated urban area. It provides a refuge for residents and visitors, encouraging outdoor activity and community engagement.

Biophilic design: Incorporating biophilic design principles into architecture and urban planning can create environments that foster a connection with nature. This design approach integrates natural elements such as plants, water features and natural light into buildings and public spaces.

One example: Singapore’s Changi Airport is renowned for its biophilic design, which includes indoor gardens, a butterfly habitat and cascading waterfalls to create a calming and natural environment for travellers.

Educational Initiatives

Education is key to bridging the gap between technology and nature. Schools and community programmes can promote outdoor education and environmental awareness, fostering a generation that values and engages with the natural world.

Outdoor education programmes: Schools can incorporate outdoor education into their curriculum, encouraging students to learn about the environment through hands-on experiences in nature. These programmes can instil a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the natural world.

Example: The Forest School movement, which originated in Scandinavia, emphasises outdoor, nature-based learning for children that promotes physical health, mental well-being and environmental awareness.

Digital tools for environmental awareness: Technology can also be used to improve environmental education. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can provide immersive experiences that bring nature to those who may not have easy access to it, raising awareness and fostering a connection with the environment.

One example: VR applications such as Google Expeditions allow students to explore natural wonders and remote ecosystems from their classrooms, providing a virtual connection to nature that complements real-world experiences.


  • Jones, N., & Stafford, R. (2016). Urban green spaces and health: A review of evidence. Journal of Public Health, 38(1), 8-16.
  • Kaplan, R., & Kaplan, S. (1989). The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. Cambridge University Press.
  • Mayer, F. S., Frantz, C. M., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., & Dolliver, K. (2009). Why is nature beneficial? The role of connectedness to nature. Environment and Behavior, 41(5), 607-643.
  • Chawla, L. (2015). Benefits of nature contact for children. Journal of Planning Literature, 30(4), 433-452.
  • Williams, F. (2017). The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. W. W. Norton & Company.


As we move into a technologically driven future, the phenomenon of hyperdenaturalisation presents both significant challenges and remarkable opportunities. Our increasing reliance on technology and urbanisation has led to a profound disconnection from the natural world, reshaping our lifestyles, mental health and social dynamics. The historical context of this trend, rooted in the Industrial Revolution and accelerated by the digital age, reveals a trajectory in which human ingenuity and technological progress have come at the expense of our natural connection.

The current trends of technological escapism, driven by AI, virtual reality and social media, deepen this disconnection. While these technologies offer convenience and immersive experiences, they also contribute to sedentary lifestyles and reduced engagement with nature. The psychological and social impacts are evident in rising rates of mental health problems and social isolation, as well as a diminished appreciation of the environment. The loss of direct interaction with nature can lead to a lack of environmental awareness and apathy towards conservation efforts, exacerbating environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss.

However, the narrative of hyperdenaturalisation is not just one of loss and disconnection. It also offers a unique opportunity to reimagine our relationship with nature through innovative and sustainable practices. The integration of urban green spaces, biophilic design and green technology into our daily lives can help bridge the gap between technology and nature. By incorporating natural elements into urban environments and using technology to protect the environment, we can create a more balanced and harmonious coexistence.

Educational initiatives that promote outdoor learning and environmental awareness are crucial to raising a generation that values and engages with the natural world. Schools, community programmes and digital tools can play an important role in reconnecting people with nature and encouraging sustainable behaviour and environmental stewardship. In addition, effective policy and advocacy are essential to drive systemic change towards sustainability. Governments and organisations need to implement policies that support renewable energy, protect natural habitats and promote sustainable urban development.

Ultimately, the challenge of hyperdenaturalisation requires a collective effort to rethink and redesign our interaction with the environment. It requires a conscious shift towards practices that honour our intrinsic connection to nature while embracing the benefits of technological progress. As we navigate this complex interplay, it is essential to strive for a future where technology and nature are not at odds, but are integrated in ways that enhance human well-being and environmental sustainability.

The concept of hyperdenaturalisation challenges us to reflect on the profound implications of our choices and the direction in which we are heading. It is a call to action to preserve the natural world that sustains us, to find joy and solace in nature, and to cultivate a deep appreciation for the environment. As we advance technologically, let us not forget the roots that ground us, the natural landscapes that inspire us, and the ecological systems that support life on Earth. By fostering a renewed connection with nature, we can ensure a more resilient, sustainable and harmonious future for generations to come.