Over the last few years, technology has advanced and grown at an exponential rate as humanity has continued to find new ways to create and innovate through to the twenty-first century. The advent of several new technologies has improved the standard of living of people everywhere and has made what would have been daunting tasks twenty of thirty years ago simple, such as being able to search for information by browsing the internet as opposed to having to search for the information by reading physical material like books and magazines. Modern technology has also improved transportation, education, healthcare and even communication. While it is undeniable that our lives have been made much easier, modern technology has had an impact on more than just our lives, but also the earth we live in. Technology has impacted the earth’s ecosystem, and affected the natural environment in various ways. This paper examines the repercussions and effects modern technology has had on the natural environment, both negative and positive.
While it is undeniable that technology has benefitted all our lives greatly, we cannot turn a blind eye to some of the detrimental effects is has on the environment. Chief amongst the problems caused by modern technology is pollution. As countries continue to develop rapidly and as more rural areas in the world undergo urbanization, pollution is an issue that will only get worse in the foreseeable future unless a significant change takes place. This is a serious problem for us as it not only negatively impacts our environment but also damages our health. One form of pollution that is widespread is air pollution. Common examples of causes for air pollution include the smoke from factories and the carbon emissions from automobiles. Factories manufacture goods and products using modern machinery. Automobiles not only damage the environment through the carbon dioxides they emit, but also through the manufacturing products, where they are put together in industrial factories. As more and more countries are developing at a rapid rate, the demand for cars is rising as well, as they have become a necessary commodity in today’s urban world. There are also less major forms of air pollution, such as the gas from a cooking stove in a household. However, the small things add up to make a big difference. Another form of pollution is noise pollution. While generally considered less harmful than air pollution, most people do not understand the detrimental effect noise pollution has on animals. Noise pollution caused by technology such as aircraft and automobiles. Some species of animals are declining because the noise caused by traffic is taking them longer to identify mating calls. Pollution also harms fish in oceans and rivers around the world. Pesticide residue contaminates the waters, killing fish. For humans, long-term effects of pollution include lung cancer, various respiratory disease and heart disease, although technology causes more issues than just pollution, such as the risk of accidents from heavy traffic or accidents stemming from the operation of machinery in factories. Technology is also partly responsible for mass deforestation around the world. One of the causes for deforestation is to clear more land to be available for urbanization and housing. Deforestation is a directly contributing factor to climate change as it impacts the global carbon cycle. However, while technology has somewhat contributed to unnecessary deforestation in this way, with the correct application, it can also be capable of saving trees.
It is an undisputed fact that human beings have caused damage to the natural environment. However, some of the technology developed recently can be used to fix the damage or at least play a part in reversing it to an extent. For example, Google have jointly developed a tool with some partners to help better monitor the forests of the world in order to manage deforestation. The tool utilizes the latest technology in data sharing and satellite tracking to provide a real-time, interactive forest monitoring system. The system consists of high-quality, interactive maps of forests all over the world, made possible through the use of satellite technology. The system also displays information detailing changes in the landscape of the forests caused by logging, disease, fires and other natural causes. Using the information provided and monitoring the forests in real-time allows authorities to identify when illegal deforestation is taking place. In addition to this, a more simplified version of the technology is available to the public, raising awareness amongst regular people and allowing the public to hold authorities responsible for the decisions they make regarding the forests of the world. Social media is also a relatively new technology that can play a large part in spreading word quickly and raising awareness for several problems, including deforestation. However, deforestation is not the only issue modern technology can be used to solve. Even though automobiles directly damage the environment through the carbon they emit, the automotive industry is making an effort to reduce emissions from automobiles by reducing the size of the engines used and making them more fuel efficient through recent advancements in the automotive engineering field. The governments worldwide are also doing their part in this area, increasing the tax on vehicles with larger and less economical engines. In addition to this, automotive engineers are also looking at alternative ways to power cars other than fuel, with the first fully electric vehicles already being available to the general public, albeit with some shortcomings that cannot be solved using the current technology as of yet. As a result of this, automotive engineers have developed a kind of engine called a hybrid, which utilizes and electric motor to assist the engine and reduce internal combustion, therefore resulting in better fuel economy and lesser carbon being emitted. Information technology has also served a part in saving some trees, as it has mostly eliminated the use of paper in offices. Additionally, any paper that is used nowadays can be easily recycled, in order to be used again. A major focus in the world of technology in the last few years has been developing alternative energy sources, preferably renewable. Scientists and engineers have experimented with various forms of renewable, ecofriendly “green energy” in recent times with varying levels of success.
...(download the rest of the essay above)