Technology for Sustainability: It’s time to make a change

Today, more than ever before, technology is playing a very important role in our lives. At the same time, concerns for the environment are rising, and with good reason. Investors are increasingly concerned with climate change, and well should be, considering the rise of government laws in relation to the same. It almost seems as though when humanity moves forward in the area of technology, a step backward is taken in the preservation of the earth. The redundant argument that advancement of technology will have environmental side-effects has been heard in many different forms, often as a justification of lack of change. But does this have to be the case? Are technology and sustainability inversely proportional? The answer, is a loud and resounding NO.

Even though there are many instances where the advancement of technology has led to environmental degradation, this doesn’t necessarily have to become our reality. Rather, the advancement of technology, in fact,  can and should aid sustainability – otherwise what is really the point of moving forward in a world that is slowly dying?

The few industries that recognize this reality are coming up with creative solutions to age-old problems. Take Cenovus for example. This oil company has taken leaps forward in trying to maintain and save the environment around drilling areas. While the oil industry is known for its disregard of environmental concerns, Cenovus has incorporated the use of wooden mats in its drilling process. The wooden mats create temporary access roads to the drilling sites in a stable and sustainable manner. The mats provide stable working conditions for the crew while also preserving the ecosystem underneath. Once the project is completed, Cenovus lifts the mats and packs them away, leaving the ecosystem and environment more or less untouched. Developments such as the use of drones in agriculture are also great examples of how technology is assisting environmental efforts. According to Zareba Systems, “Drones can fly cheaply at low altitudes, and can get detailed images of the crops. ” What this means is that farmers will be able to gather data in an effective and productive manner, allowing for quicker identification of problems in the crops, more effective treatment and most importantly, the reduced usage of fertilizers and chemicals. Tire giant Michelin, in an effort to reduce emissions in the car manufacturing pioneered the concept of airless tires.The largest advantage of these airless tires is that they are environmentally friendly, made with 100 % recyclable material.

These examples, chosen across a variety of industries, show that technology can visibly help the future of our environment. Companies would do well to follow suit, putting in place initiatives that help preserve and sustain. If the future of the globe isn’t motivation enough, then the positive public image and the potential of attracting more investors through enforcing eco-conscious processes should encourage industrial giants to implement change. Rather than isolate technology from the environment, allowing both to work in tandem would be a much more meaningful and sustainable way forward.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Akshata Mehta

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