When was the last time you thought about living in a hyperconnected world?
It’s easy to take email, social media, instant messaging and even the web for granted sometimes. They’ve become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that we ping messages to the other side of the earth with barely a second’s thought. But for those of us who remember the pre-internet days, the phenomenal changes brought about by the advent of digital communication are sometimes still truly breathtaking.
Peering back in time
If we peer back all the way to 1970, the world was a very different place. To communicate with someone on the other side of the world involved barely audible international phone calls with crackly lines and the risk of sudden and unexpected disconnection (not to mention the eye watering phone bill afterwards). Letters were an even more precarious method of communication. Scribbled onto paper and stuffed in an airmail envelope, we literally entrusted them to a network of mail carriers hauling them out of depots and onto aeroplanes and back into depots before finally (if we were lucky) arriving at their intended destinations.
The mere thought of being able to pore over the Instagram feeds of Iranian fashion bloggers or retweet witticisms made by Canadian comics would have been so fanciful as to appear absurd. We could never have imagined following a video recipe from an amateur chef in Vietnam or getting into a heated debate about comic book trivia with a fellow geek in Peru. We seem to have normalised these miraculous wonders of technology incredibly quickly. In fact, we’re all so accustomed to this hyperconnected world that sometimes we forget what a recent development in human history it represents. Perhaps we’ve even become a little blasé?
The year 1970 is significant because it saw the launch of the very first Earth Day. This worldwide event began just a year earlier with the simple idea of a peace activist from San Francisco to honour the earth and the concept of peace. This aim struck a chord around the world and over the years the movement grew to incorporate more and more people all across the planet. These days it is celebrated in 193 countries around the world and involves the participation of millions.
What does this mean for you?
So, what does all this have to do with you? Well, the upcoming Earth Day (on April 22) is the perfect opportunity to reach out to your fellow human beings and make a connection that goes deeper than clicking on a “like” button or sharing a link with your family and friends. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these everyday forms of interaction that we all utilise, but the possibilities for more are almost overwhelming in their scale. And this is where italki.com comes in. This language learning site helps you to connect with enthusiastic and friendly people from all over the world and allows a much more meaningful interaction than we’ve become accustomed to since the dawn of the digital age.
Finding a conversation partner on the other side of the world means you can celebrate Earth Day in the most fitting way possible: by forging connections with your fellow human beings and sharing ideas, hopes and dreams for the future. Perhaps you’ll be speaking to a structural engineer in Uzbekistan or a librarian in Hong Kong? Maybe you’ll connect with a student in New York (home of the very first Earth Day) or an accountant in Brazil? Whoever you speak to, it’ll give you an opportunity to experience the hyperconnected world at its very best by bringing people together and sharing ideas about the planet we all live on.
Language learning is one of the vital steps to realising the incredible potential of this hyperconnected world: being able to communicate with your fellow earthling. Digital communication has made the world a much smaller place and will undoubtedly continue to change how societies and individuals interact over the coming years. So, why not say hello to your neighbour this Earth Day?
How to find your Earth Day partner
Finding a partner to share your Earth Day experience with couldn’t be easier. Visit italki.com/partners and search by languages. You can find someone who speaks your target language or even just someone who wants to practice your mother tongue. After finding someone suitable, send them a message to introduce yourself. What are your interests? How do you spend your time? What surprising or amazing things have you done in your life? Remember to include any relevant information about what you’d like to get out of the experience, such as learning about their culture or getting a unique insight into their life. Perhaps you’re involved in your own Earth Day project and want to talk about what it means for you?
If you’re passionate about languages, you’re passionate about the world you live in. So, there’s no excuse for not sharing that passion with others! Earth Day is about building a movement, inspiring change on the personal level and implementing changes on the global level. By taking the time to connect with someone on the other side of the world you can change the way they think about the planet and its future. What a privilege! And remember to share your Earth Day stories in the comment section below.