It is no secret that technological advancements worldwide have transformed every sector over the past few years. Today almost every aspect of life involves technology, whether it be shopping, conducting business, or anything else. The growth of technology is way faster than one could imagine. Every day new technology emerges, which helps in making life easier by conducting operations more efficiently. Technology has made it easy for humans to solve the most complicated problems or find the cure for life-threatening diseases.
People like to believe technology is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to the environment. The truth is that technology and the environment go hand in hand. However, how technology affects the environment remains a lifelong debate. Many people believe technological innovation plays a crucial role in solving environmental challenges. Yet, some people think environmentally sustainable practices are the only solution to environmental problems. However, using technology wisely and appropriately can help resolve many ecological issues that human beings have created over time.
But a question arises that whether technological advancements are saviors or killers of the environment? There is no perfect answer to this question as it has both positive and negative aspects. Suppose one wishes to gain an in-depth understanding of technology and its effect on our planet. In that case, they can opt for MSIST degrees and learn about technology’s profound impact on the environment. However, we will provide a quick review into it. Read on below to understand how technological advancements impact the environment:
Below are a few ways technology is helping the environment positively:
- Smart Lifestyle
No doubt, the modern age emphasizes going green in different walks of life. It has pushed many individuals to live a more sustainable lifestyle to keep the environment safe and healthy. As a result, smart homes and smart cars are gaining more popularity than ever.
Smart homes help in saving energy consumption in routine tasks in the homes through advanced technology. These houses consist of advanced sensors that detect the number of people living in the house and alter power generation accordingly.
Concerns regarding the emission of carbon dioxide from vehicles are worrying environmentalists worldwide. However, smart cars positively affect the environment as they prevent carbon emissions, leading to a decline in the greenhouse effect, thus lessening global warming. Additionally, since these modern cars use rechargeable batteries, they are a great option to reduce energy consumption.
One of the most crucial technological advancements in the past few years is renewable or clean energy. It refers to the power generated from natural resources such as water, wind, sun, etc. The cost of generating clean energy is becoming cheaper, due to which it is an accessible option for many countries. Previously, industries would generate power from fossil fuels which negatively affects the environment. It causes damage to the ozone layer and an increase in the level of air pollution. Developing clean energy involves three significant steps:
- Energy generation: It involves generating sustainable electricity from the sun, wind, air, biomass, or any other natural source.
- Smart Grid: It ensures that the energy generated is easily accessible to the network.
- Energy storage: It comprises low-cost storage solutions such as batteries or modern cells.
Industries and countries worldwide are utilizing technological solutions to generate power from renewable energy sources. If it weren’t for technological innovations, these natural resources would be of no use. Today, many companies are harnessing geothermal heat, winds, tides, and hydropower to produce energy.
- Waste Management
Technology helps in the removal of waste for the protection of both human health and the environment. Previously, natural microorganisms helped in decomposing human, industrial, or agricultural wastes. However, today, genetically engineered microorganisms help in treating sewage, contaminated soils, or other wastewater.
Although the world is still not free of papers to this date, technology has reduced it to the minimum. Today, there is a significant transition from paperwork in many industries to online screen technology. Technology provides solutions to printed materials in the form of ebooks, audiobooks, emails, etc., reducing paper waste altogether. Additionally, companies can track and smartly collect trash with waste management technology, dispose of it properly, or recycle it. Using waste-to-energy technology, companies can turn waste such as biomass and produce energy from it. These are minor examples of how technology is playing a critical role in waste management.
Despite the positives, there are some adverse effects of technology on our planet.
- Electronic Waste
Electronic waste refers to the devices or appliances that have reached the end of their functional life. Also known as e-waste, it contains hazardous and toxic chemicals that can hurt living beings and the environment. Every year tonnes of electronic waste is dumped in ecosystems such as the ocean because burning them could lead to severe consequences. Such wastes have adverse effects on marine life, posing a threat to their habitat and survival. Although these electronic devices play a vital role in everyday life; however, when damaged or unserviceable can become a massive threat. Unfortunately, people are unaware of the consequences and either burn e-waste or dump it in landfills.
If recycled, electronic waste can turn out to be a huge advantage. Through proper recycling procedures, we can extract valuable metals and precious minerals. These metals can prove to be beneficial during the collection of new materials. In this way, we can also reduce the environmental threats related to the new materials extraction process. But organizations are not willing to devote time and effort to the recycling of electronic waste. It will compel them to incur costs and manual labor, which they are not readily willing to do. It creates a huge concern regarding the impact of industrial giants and their practices on the health of our planet.
The continuous developments in technology have changed every aspect of our lives. However, it is crucial to analyze the effects of new and existing technologies on the environment with these ongoing advancements. Technology can either help to solve a problem or can create new problems. It entirely depends on how we manage technology sustainably. Consumer safety and other potential hazards to plants and animals are growing concerns. Scientists and regulatory authorities must conduct studies to determine the acuteness of the effects and figure out ways to mitigate the risks.