Technology Can be Just as Hurtful as it is Helpful
There is no doubt that every day we are contaminating our environment with everything we own from plastic bottles to vehicles. Technology produced these products and for the most part in an unclean way. Does this mean that technology is a nightmare to our environment? At first glance, it would appear to be; however, we must further our insight and analyze the different ways technology interacts with the environment.
We must admit that we are the "throw-away" generation. Consumerism is definitely global which means that nearly every culture is buying products; followed quickly by buying something else to replace it. Although it is not immediate, it is a sharp difference from previous times in which people would keep products such as microwaves and refrigerators from time of purchase until death.
The pace of technological development is high and increases the output of product to meet the forever increasing demand. Products such as previous versions of computers became obsolete quickly and piled up as waste. Like in the past, a new product replaces a whole series of devices as seen when the first CD appeared wiping out the need for the cassette tape. Even if someone prefers the old way, it is deemed impossible in time as the production ceases soon if not almost immediately. What will become of our computers when the more super and intelligent devices appear to wipe it out? It is likely that it will go where all the rest of our products go: the dumping ground.
Although most cannot see a time when we will not use today's type of computer, it is easier to envision a faster and light-weight computing device that contains a large storage that never seems to fill up. In order to have a device with these capabilities, we will need to start anew which means we cannot take our present computers and simply upgrade them.
The problem is not just the dumping of the old technologies but also the energy it takes to produce every one of them. We are using non-renewable resources. It is taking the Earth's made resources and putting it back into the planet in harmful forms. Right now there is nothing that works as well as the non-renewable resources and there is also no way to 100% stop the flood of pollutants into the air, land, or water.
Although technology is unable to ride up on its mechanical horse to save the day, it has come close to doing that! The typical argument for many is that technology created the mess of our environment, so it will get advanced to the point that it can actually stop the deterioration and also reverse what was already destroyed. It is a positive theory; however, there are other ways in which technology has helped the environment that many do not notice. It is time for us to stop thinking only of what we could build in the future to save the environment but rather look at what we built to potentially keep the environment from getting worse.
First, the point is not to say that we need to stop looking for ways to improve our technology to be environment-friendly. The more clean our technologies become, the less we and our children suffer later. However, it is time to look at the positive part of technology aside from the obvious convenience it brings to us. Convenience is just the start of what could spark a global trend that is already happening now.
For those who work for companies that operate with international partners, it is a regular occurrence to communicate via web-conferencing. How often do people think that technology is actually saving them from traveling? It is not only saving them, but also the environment. If everyone would operate like this, the number of flights would decrease substantially reducing the air pollution as well as the burn of non-renewable resources. However, it is not saying that people should not travel for all of us know that nothing can come close to experiencing anything up close. If the positive theory mentioned earlier is true, airplanes will be clean enough someday anyways!
Many ideas revolve around the office space; in this case, the lack of it. Technology has taken people out of the office and back into their homes. Many companies operate on a large portion of telecommuting if the job entails office work that can access everything it needs via internet. The energy that was used to heat, cool, or supply light to these offices are cut down. Also consider the burning of non-renewable resources that people once used to drive a car back and forth.
It is easy for anyone to state that people are also consuming energy at homes; however, green technologies are booming and many people are investing in these whether it is as small as light bulbs or as big as solar panels. Just like ordinary people, businesses are also investing in these. Business buildings are becoming advanced and pushing towards 'smart buildings' that controls areas such as heating, lighting, air conditioning, ventilation, and other large appliances that consume a lot of energy.
The future remains unclear; however, rather than leaving lights on throughout the night, it may be dark, peaceful, and eco-friendly. There may be a day when conversations not only mention the most lit up cities, but also those that chose to power down. Technology is making this happen.