Homo Domesticus

wolf dog domestication

Homo Domesticus

Man in industrialized nations spend over 90% op their time indoors (including residences and vehicles). In 2001 the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a study performed by Neil E. Klepeis et al. called The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants. The study was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The survey itself was conducted from late September 1992 to September 1994 via telephone interviews. This survey interviewed respondents across the 48 contiguous states of the U.S. The study concluded that Americans spend 86.9% of their time indoors, with another 5.5% in a vehicle. It also contains a review of previous sociological research on Man’s activity. The Multinational Comparative Time Budget Research Project (Szalai, 1972) looked at 12 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France , East Germany, West Germany, Hungary, Peru, Poland, Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, United States and Yugoslavia. In 1989, Ott looked at the data to estimate time spent in-transit, outdoors and indoors. He concluded that employed persons in the U.S. spend only about 2% of their time outdoors, 6% in transit and 92% of their time indoors. Ott suggested that:

“The finding that emerges is that we are basically an indoor species.”

“In a modern society, total time outdoors is the most insignificant part of the day, often so small that it barely shows up in the total.”

There you have it. Man has reached the pinnacle of domestication. We are no longer Homo Sapiens. We have made ourselves into Homo Domesticus. In fact, it has gotten worse since that research was done. The year the NHAPS study came out, was the year the first version of the iPod was released, in 2001. The first iPhone was announced in 2007. The first iPad was released in 2010. Where do we go with those mobile devices? Indoors, where there are power sockets to keep these devices charged, and lights that make it easier to see the screens. Do you think we spend less time indoors since those studies? Inside classrooms for studying, then homework indoors at a desk at home. Inside offices for work. Inside a car or public transport for travel. Inside a gym after that. Inside, on a couch, to watch TV, while looking at a smartphone. Video games are now a competitive sport. All indoors, under artificial lights (whether it is from display devices or light fixtures) and artificial air.

Further Reading

BuildingGreen. We Spend 90% of Our Time Indoors. Says Who?

Klepeis, Neil E. et al. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants.

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