The following is an editorial.
Yellowstone National Park is located in the Northwest portion of the United States in the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was established as a national park in 1872 by the US Congress and President Ulysses Grant. The park is rich in wildlife, natural resources and beautiful wonders. Bison roam free here as do wolves, mountain lions, elk, moose, coyote, eagles and hundreds of other wonderful creatures.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Yellowstone and taking in the immeasurable beauty that it offers. So why do Yellowstone officials in conjunction with CenturyLink want to increase bandwidth at the park? Are the Bison complaining they can’t stream Netflix properly?
Yellowstone park officials are in talks with CenturyLink to install a $34 million dollar fiber optic system in Grand Teton National Park extending into and through Yellowstone. The hope is to increase bandwidth and cellular performance to the Yellowstone and surrounding areas. But do we really need to do that? The debate is ignited as to just how far our technological reach should extend. Our major cities are already a mass of wires and connectivity and our rural areas are becoming just as connected. Areas like Yellowstone are still largely untouched and some people would like to see it stay that way, including myself.
The Washington, D.C. advocacy group’s executive director, Jeff Ruch, warned that bumping up the park’s bandwidth will create more electronic distractions at the expense of the park’s natural wonders.
This articles stance may seem a little strange being on a technology based website as we generally love all things tech here but balance is key, isn’t it? The digital world is great, it allows us to do things we’ve never done before but we also need to be careful not to let it consume us and disconnect us from each other or the land we live on. We bury ourselves in our monitors these days barely even looking up to say hi, I’m just as guilty as the next guy. I’d be willing to bet we’ve posted to social media and probably walked right past the person you were posting to without notice. We’re becoming a world of throw away snapchatting and static images.
“It was quite fascinating to see a naturally-occurring experiment about what happens when you take away technology from kids,” he said. “They wanted to be in touch with their friends and exchange Snapchat photos — not of the beautiful scenery but themselves.”
My in-laws organize a get together of their children and grandchildren every year and they locate the gathering in a small town in Minnesota. The place is so small and out there, mobile communication is next to impossible. I admit that I’m not always thrilled about going to this gathering. It disconnects me from my entire digital world including my work here at the site. But I also admit that when I come out of that experience, I’m mentally clean. Balance, taking in the natural and leaving the digital alone for just a while would work wonders for many of us and you too should consider trying it out.
Connectivity is awesome, being able to talk to someone half way across the world in real time is amazing and it does wonders for our global economy and relations. But at some point you cross a line into damaging the natural world around you not to mention your own humanity. Just because we have $34 million dollars and the means to expand fiber optics communications to wherever we see fit, doesn’t mean we should go ahead and do that. Some things should be left alone, some things should be enjoyed for their purity……..Yellowstone is one of those things.