Technology definitely has the ability to make the environment better if used in constructive and beneficial ways. Although technology has added a lot of negative clutter to our world (hello 7+ versions of the iPhone, iPad, iPod), it also has the ability to reverse that or at least counteract some of that added clutter by being used for green initiatives. One example is the use of energy monitors in residential homes and commercial buildings. We are now able to watch how much energy we use on a daily/monthly basis, take that information into account and then alter our habits so that we can presumably decrease our total energy usage. This is a great example of new technology being put to use to solve problems that couldn’t have been solved before.
To add to the dialogue there are a lot of simple old technologies to that can be used to at least lessen the impact we have on the environment. In southern Chile most people use wooden stoves to heat their homes and buy tanks of gas to heat their water for showers. My boyfriend redirects and the plumbing so that the water pipes pass through parts of the wood stove, the heat from the stove heats the water, and there’s no need to buy gas. Solar heaters also, which can simply be a series of black tubes on a roof can also do this.
The trouble with modern technology is that in many cases it’s difficult to predict what effects it will have on the environment. At least from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present day, the vast majority of technology seems to have had a detrimental effect on the environment, though no one would have suspected it at the time. Nowadays, though, almost everyone is paying much closer attention to the impact our technology has on the environment, and it seems likely that this increased conscienciousness will pay off. Technology aimed at reducing oil consumption, either by improving efficiency or relying on renewable energy, is likely to prove the most beneficial advance in modern technology. Still, it may be many years before we can accurately judge the full effects that such innovations will have on our environment.
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