Climate change, overpopulation, waste, and dwindling resources are often the main discussion topics when discussing the growing climate crisis. Yet, we often neglect to see how technology can give us hope for a better future. Technology is becoming more and more advanced every day. New intelligent technologies have changed the way we live, work, and manage our day-to-day lives.
Besides making our lives easier, technology also helped us live greener and better. This win-win situation is helping us shape our environment for the better. Here are five ways technology is currently supporting the planet.
1. Technology is Enabling Us to Be Energy-Efficient
It can be surprising to some that smart devices are helping simplify not only our lives, but also to reduce our carbon footprint. Electrical appliances are constantly becoming more efficient. Some smart home devices, for instance, conserve energy by using artificial intelligence to shut off power when not in use. These incremental changes in how we power our day-to-day lives have a dramatic domino effect in the long run.
Some smart home devices can also optimize your thermostat or energy consumption when energy isn’t needed or when you’re not home. Replacing light bulbs or upgrading outdated electrical equipment can help offset your overconsumption of electricity. For example, modern LED bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lighting and have a 50 times longer lifespan. LED bulbs are essential to curb our energy use as they reduce waste, use fewer resources, and consume less energy.
Most people’s modern-day homes have everything: from electric doorbells and robotic vacuum cleaners to Smart TVs. Even though we’re using more appliances than ever before, our energy consumption is less than homeowners of previous decades due to the advanced technology powering our homes.
2. Technology is Making Energy Production More Efficient
Our world is becoming more energy dependable as life becomes digitized. Our ways of producing energy are becoming cleaner, and there’s one primary reason why: renewable energy systems.
Renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States. By learning more about the energy from the sun, wind, and water, our dependence on power becomes exhaustible, and the emissions of greenhouse effects are reduced. Renewables made up 24 percent of global energy production in 2016, much of it from hydropower, and are predicted to go up to 90% by 2050.
3. Technology is Helping Create Clean Energy Systems
Sustainable energy production allows us to rely less on fossil fuels and other types of pollutants. Our technological advances in clean energy systems are one of the reasons why they’ve become more efficient and economically viable for individuals and corporations alike. For example, since 2006, the cost of solar energy has fallen more than 73%, making it a wise investment both economically and environmentally.
Technology has advanced significantly in recent decades by minimizing the impacts of shading, increasing the efficiency of the solar arrays, and enabling web-based monitoring. Today, it’s possible to convert more sunlight to electricity, more common to install solar system panels on rooftops, and gather valuable system information from afar. Solar cells have become smaller and paper-thin, requiring fewer materials and opening up a world of possibilities.
4. Technology can Increase Recycling To Reduce Waste and Pollution
As more recycling technology develops, we can effectively recycle and reuse more of our waste. Closed-loop recycling is a more sustainable concept, where recycling material can be done indefinitely without degradation of properties. When the closed-loop resource is implemented, we should have zero waste, and all products at the end of their lifecycle become assimilated.
Zero waste strategy supports sustainable development through the following pathways:
- Conservation of natural resources
- Protect the health of ecosystems
- Minimization of non-degradable waste dumped to the natural ecosystems
- Biodiversity conservation
- Intergenerational decisions
- Less waste = higher efficiency = lower cost
- Cost of compliance with regulations reduced
- Generation of new jobs
- Equal opportunities to others
- More resources and energy become available for society
Zero waste philosophy encourages the restoration of resource life cycles. That way, all products are reusable. Zero waste practices are the most significant advancement to combat the Earth’s climate crisis. It can be as simple as cardboard, water bottles, metals, and more, leading to resource depletion, industrial waste, air, and water pollution.
As technology further develops, recycling becomes more convenient and economically viable than producing more. Recycling helps curb energy consumption as well as produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Technology Helps Create Awareness of Our Effect on the Planet
As every year goes by, people are becoming more aware of how human activity is harming the planet. Technology is a massive component of this equation. By having greater access to climate change-related information and resources, we can easily recognize our impact and find ways to take action.
Technological advances have helped us predict and prevent damage on an extensive scale. Now more than ever, we can monitor our effects on air quality and track the chemicals we produce in cities or factories.
By blocking the destructive power of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), for instance, gas used in several products such as refrigeration, air conditioning, and aerosol spray cans can be prevented from harming the environment.
The hole created by CFCs in the ozone was due to the invention of the Dobson Ozone Spectrophotometer, and now we understand the extent of damage these compound gases were creating. The banning of CFCs has allowed the hole in the ozone layer to begin healing.
As we further educate ourselves about our environment, we can spread awareness of important issues beyond our immediate families and friends. Besides sharing information, we can also share goods and services that benefit the environment through technology usage.
Apps and appliances are at the forefront of these environmental changes, making us more efficient with our resources. By taking actions collectively, we have the potential to create a more valuable and cleaner world through technology.