Imagine being unable to live without something and at the same time, the same thing leading you to your end. This is the case with technology, it has made our lives without it difficult but on the other hand, it has negatively impacted our environment. Does this sound scary? Well, it shouldn’t, and here’s why. Even though the impact of technology on our environment is negative, it still has the potential to help us recover from it. In this post, we will be exploring these concepts in detail.
The major concerns that we are facing with the rise in technology usage are scarcity of resources and climate change. In the process of developing new technology, we are not realizing that it is consuming our resources faster than we can replenish them. The advancements in technology have led to the consumption of more fossil fuels along with the consumption of other natural resources. We can now easily travel across any part of the world but have you realized at what cost we are getting this convenience? It’s our environment, the more people travel, the more carbon is emitted, thus leading to climate change.
Effects on our Environment
Before the industrial revolution in the mid-to-late 1700s, our earth’s atmosphere was less polluted. The industrial revolution brought machines into the picture, and this is exactly where easy manufacturing on a large scale became possible. The results of large-scale manufacturing are depletion of natural resources and pollution. Let’s look at these effects to manage them better.
Natural Resources Depletion
Previously, without technology, most of our tasks were performed manually. At that time, this trend was seen in almost all sectors. Once the technology was introduced, we experienced changes in trends. These sectors shifted their focus to automating tasks for obvious reasons. The automated tasks are performed efficiently and increase our productivity. Using technology, along with more profits, we can reduce the frequency of human error significantly. Natural resources are used more now and this has resulted in their decline.
We are also experiencing an increase in population, ultimately leading to more consumption of resources. The forests are cut down to build residential areas for the increasing population. In simple terms, the trees that are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the environment are being cut down. We are so focused on moving ahead with technology that we are losing sight of important things. There has been a decline in the natural habitat of numerous plants and animals leading them to become extinct.
We have come across the concept of pollution from early on in our lives. We have learned about different types of pollution and their impact on the environment. Now let’s understand how technology is contributing to pollution. With the help of technology, now we can produce products in large quantities. Factories produce goods with raw materials and in the process, wastes are generated. These wastes are released in the environment in the form of harmful gases in the air, and harmful waste such as chemicals in water bodies. Thus, leading to air and water pollution.
Currently, there has been a rapid growth in electronic wastes. These wastes include non-biodegradable toxic materials, and if not discarded properly, they can contaminate the surrounding area. Think about it, if the waste is not disposed of properly, it will not only contaminate your environment but also affect your health. For this reason, many countries are taking necessary actions such as proper waste management. The recycling centers are set up in many locations to better manage technology waste.
Technology Helping our Environment
As mentioned earlier, technology does have the potential to help us deal with major concerns related to the environment. When compared to the negative impact of technology, we can still say that technology has helped us more than it has caused harm. We haven’t just used natural resources to develop technology, we have also produced sustainable materials using technology. Imagine if you didn’t have the technology, would you be able to measure your environment for identifying threats? Obviously no, how would you know if you don’t have the right tools?
Technology helps us to study our environment so that we can take the necessary measures to manage it better. Also, you all must have heard the proverb, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ I’ll explain its relation in technology and environment context. When one area gets affected by calamities, they find solutions to better deal with it. With technology, these solutions are made known around the world so that when others face similar issues, they can use these solutions and modify them based on their requirements. There is no need to build solutions from scratch as technology provides a foundation for finding solutions.
We have seen how trees are cut down for building residential areas but we should also focus on how technology has helped us to go paperless. We have online communication modes where the need for paper is reduced, in turn, leading to fewer trees being cut down. This can be seen in several sectors, the more we go online, the need for physical documents reduces thus saving our environment in some way. We also have sensors that automatically detect the need to turn on or turn off devices depending on conditions in the surrounding.
Our discussion won’t be complete until we mention the research that is being conducted to develop technology to reduce carbon emissions from our environment. Similar research is being conducted to develop smart technologies that will help us to reduce our energy consumption. For example, consider the smart light system, it allows you to control them remotely or directly automate them so that when it is not in use, it turns off automatically. We can agree that there are negative impacts of technology on our environment, but there is no going back from here. We can either use technology smartly and protect our environment or continue as we are doing and, in the process, create problems for us and our future generation.