Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Instead of Social Media: Log Into Nature Livestreams...


Hang out at the Banzai Pipeline surf break on the north shore of Oahu
Livestream hours: dawn to just after sunset, Hawaii time
by Laurie Allee

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Seeing the World Despite Travel Restrictions
     Finding the analog in the digital 

Readers of this blog know that I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  Before COVID-19, I felt like I was living in some kind of Matrix where everyone was willingly plugged into devices, ignoring each other while staring hour after hour into endlessly scrolling screens.  I basically started this blog as a kind of rebellion against my phone.  I dedicated myself a life more tactile and less digital. I unplugged to get my hands dirty and "sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world" -- or to at least avoid the toxic political howling on Twitter. 

During the pandemic, however, my screens have become windows to the people and things I love.  Managing this pandemic with health risks has meant a strict quarantine.  Without Zoom, texts and Facetime, my husband, daughter and I would be truly isolated, like an urban Swiss Family Robinson.  While I love and appreciate my tiny home garden, it's hard not to feel restless and anxious.  

It  has been a challenge to figure out how to stay grounded...while literally being grounded 

Welcome Back to Nature's Channel

One of my favorite discoveries during a year in lockdown has been the preponderance of nature livestreams available online.  I may not be able to travel, but I can still catch real time views into faraway (and some not so faraway) places.  

I spent most of last summer watching the surf lazily lap along the north shore of Oahu. As the seasons changed, the quiet Hawaii beach woke up and unleashed the massive, churning waves it is famous for. (See its current mood above.)  

There are so many livestreams. I can tune into a lovely vista of fresh snow in the pine forest on Mount San JacintoI know exactly what the meadow looks like in the afternoon light at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, even though I've never actually set foot into the tall grass there.  I have become deeply attached to the hippos snorting, lolling, tussling and snoozing in a Kenyan watering hole, and I still can't believe I am able fall asleep listening to a wildlife lullaby from Africa.

These scenes and soundscapes are perfect ambient backdrops for reading, writing, sketching, playing music, meditating or just hanging out not scrolling on my phone. ASMR devotees will love all the soothing natural sounds.  Pandemic-weary shut-ins will appreciate the changing views. You can find them on your phone, but I suggest propping up a tablet or laptop.  Better yet, use Roku and check out the waves and trees (and hippos!) on a big screen. 

Here are some of my favorites:
Panoramic Live Views of Santa Monica Beach

Even though this is my very own local beach, during lockdown it has been largely out of reach.  This stream the next best thing.  (Find out Santa Monica local sunset time and tune in then.)
Streaming 24/7 (with great night views of the Ferris Wheel lights on the pier.)

Multiple Live Views of Mpala Research Centre in Kenya

Established in 1994 at the core of the Ewaso ecosystem in central Kenya, this experimental conservation research centre is located on the Laikipia Plateau and is defined by the Ewaso Ng'iro River and its tributaries.  

Tune in at night in North America to watch abundant wildlife in the African daytime.  Once you hear the hippos, you'll fall in love with this place.  Here is a field guide to identify the many other animals you will see.  

Streaming 24/7 with night vision during dark hours.  (Be on the lookout for big cats after dark!) 

The Aurora Borealis: Live from Manitoba

Even if travel restrictions were lifted, I don't know if I would be  jutting off to a remote polar bear outpost in Churchill, Canada.  This stream brings all the arctic wonders to me.

Land of the midnight sun... streaming 24/7.  Watch for the winter polar bears!

The Meadow at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Feel like spending your lunch hour in a beautiful garden meadow?  The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden offers a perfect spot.  (Be on the lookout for ravens and hawks.)  

Streaming 24/7, with night vision.  (Listen to the crickets and frogs at night!)

Livestream of the Ponte delle Guglie in Venice

Maybe you'd love a little Italian ambiance instead?  This is a beautiful live view of the Canal of Cannaregio and Guglie Bridge as seen from Hotel Filu, with just the right wine-drinking music provided by Interpreti Veneziani.  

Streaming 24/7  

When in doubt turn to puppies and kittens ... live, 24/7

These are pretty self-explanatory.

Log off (of social media) 
Tune in (to the natural world)
Opt out (of being stressed)

Stay tuned for more ways to spend your time offline.

For my guide to social media alternatives, click here

For great books to conquer digital addiction, click here

Leave me a message here.

Log off. Tune in. Opt out.