How Technology is Helping the Environment
It can be argued that technology helps us consume less and allows us to leave a lighter footprint on the environment too. When we think of technology, perhaps the environmental benefits are not always the most prominent advantages that come to mind.
Can Technology Save The Environment?
Our global population is set to reach almost ten billion by the year 2050. If the World Business Council for Sustainable Developments figures are accurate, then we have already exceeded our capacity to retain our levels of consumption. In fact, it is stated that we are set to go over the amount of consumption that our planet was ever meant to sustain by more than 200%, and these are the conservative figures.
It goes without saying that the environmental implications of our consumption are clear, and what’s more, they are known to many. Probably the most widely discussed are climate change. Although pledges have been routinely made by Governments and followed through by some countries, this alone will never be enough.
This leads us nicely to the main talking point of this blog, exactly how is technology helping the environment, if at all?
Virtual Reality (VR) is now starting to become a lot more accessible due to its increasing affordability. There are so many different applications for this technology, and we are only just starting to see the adoption of this technology in the real world. Virtual Tourism allows people to get up close and personal with nature, without causing any harm to the habitats and completely cutting back on any carbon footprint that would have other been left by traveling to these remote or far away locations. Popular furniture chains have also started to use VR to help customers visualize their products in clients homes, and game makers are starting to release more and more titles.
Reducing Consumption Through Technology
Consolidation is another significant way in which technology is helping the environment. Some of you who are reading this might well remember the days where you individually owned a music device, a digital camera, a camcorder, a mobile phone, a PC, a Sat Nav, and an alarm clock. For millennials and beyond perhaps this seems a little odd, but for many of us, this was just how it was. Technology has allowed us to consolidate all of these individual devices in most cases into a single smart device that does it all.
Reselling Unwanted Items
Gone are the days where the only place to sell-on unwanted or old items was at the local market or car-boot sale, or worse still, these items thrown away, and sent to landfill. Technology has enabled us to reuse and resell old or unused items with ease. There has been a stark rise in the number of electronic recycling sites that allow for a much longer lifespan of electronic products. Craigslist, eBay and more preloved businesses that have a huge customer base and audience. Further, the shared economy allows us to share items over the internet.
The entire IT and Computing sector has never had a great track record where the environment was concerned, That was at least until the introduction of cloud computing and associated technologies arrived on the scene. In a study performed by Microsoft, they established that greenhouse gases from this sector alone would be reduced by a massive 95% through the introduction and adoption of cloud technologies. Not only this, the reduction in the number of companies investing in the purchasing of hardware for items such as servers will also be significantly reduced, meaning a reduction of raw materials that will have to be mined and processed further reducing the carbon footprint of these products.
Perhaps one of the most recent advances in technology is the introduction of drones. I’m sure if we look at this again in five years time, the applications of drones will be increasing. Amazon is running trials in countries across the globe where they are starting to use drones to deliver packages. However, drones are also being used as a way to track and observe wildlife. Not only is this a much more environmentally friendly way to observe wildlife, but it has also proved an effective tool to help preserve endangered species against poachers.
There are many different technologies that are helping the environment, and we haven’t even covered solar technologies, technologies in agriculture, biotechnology, organic batteries, commercialized carbon, crowdsourcing just to name a few.
It is the opinion of this author that technology is, and will continue to help us preserve our environment.
It is helping us find alternative sources of energy, developing commercially viable electric, even allowing commercial entities, such as SpaceX, take to the stars.
This is something to be truly celebrated, embraced and adopted.