Natural Environment and Technology
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Technology has become so helpful to our lives in so many ways. Technology is convenient and efficient. It aids us to live life more conveniently by allowing us to do more in less effort. It, then, becomes rather difficult to undermine the importance in which technology plays within our lives. Many people have benefited from the invention of technology and would most often find it complicated to do without. Year after year, technologies become reinvented through new ideas and the betterment of equipment and tools. Thus, if an old technology does not suffice, a new one will easily come in favour shortly after. Because of the rather innovative current forms of technology, new and advanced technologies are forming at an impeccable pace. The expressions, “I would die without Internet” or “I could not ever live without my cell phone” imply that life would be hard to live from the lack of such technologies. However, such expressions become rather ironic because life is already in harm’s way due to technology itself. The relationship between technology within society and environmental grounds are problematic.
Technology serves as an efficient function to our lives yet can become detrimental to our health which is demonstrated through Ronald Wright’s theory of the progress trap and theories of environmental degradation (Cameron, par. 5). However, the repair and reversal of a damaged environment depends largely on technology through means for better water, cleaner air and conserving energy; insofar as being inevitable. Ronald Wright, a prestigious historian, coined the term “progress trap” in his book A Short History of Progress. Aprogress trap is a condition or situation in which unintentional long-term problems arise for the risk of losing a short-term quality of life (Cameron, par. 7). Progress traps often pose for negative consequences because of the lack of resources needed to repair such a situation. Wright mentions the history of progress traps and the notions that human ingenuity assists in a rather large means towards this problem. The history of progress demonstrates that, generation after generation, humans have been neglectful of a good quality life because of technology. He points out that the evolutions of greater advancements do not always result beneficially.
Thus, the conditions of a progress trap are consequential and quite damaging to the environmental world. Living in the process of progress traps becomes detrimental. The environment suffers in a large way and leads to the theory of environmental degradation. This theory explains the notions of a deteriorating environment. Technologies provide harmful things into the world and for the function of these technologies they depend on fuel, gasses, hydro, electricity, etc., pollutants and other damaging elements. When the environment becomes less valuable, the results of such damaging elements are plentiful. Technologies and human processes aid in harming the environment in many ways. “Technology is the cultural construction of the thing that controls and regulates other things, the correlate of natural things,” (Chen, par. 10). The loss and damaging of habitats and biodiversity are two resulting factors of environmental degradation. The depletion of natural resources such as the destruction of natural water, the damage to air and the harm to the ozone, also results from the excessive usage of technologies.
It becomes problematic in such ways as to how the world should collectively fix and help the environment. It may seem contradicting, however, through new ideas and advanced thinking, modernized technology does in fact provide solutions for technology that has previously damaged the environment. Despite the contradiction, water is drinkable, the air is less polluted and global warming is tameable. Thus proves that technology is inevitable. Environmental technology, otherwise known as green technology, is the application to the world in which helps to conserve the environment and natural resources. Environmental technology also helps to mend the harmful involvement that humans unconsciously make available to the problem. Such remedies such as recycling, purification, treatment, and management of wastes can diminish the issues of a detrimental environment. Purification of water not only allows for cleaner drinking water but also a distilled flow of water throughout the environment. The contamination of bodies of water is dangerous to the environment as pollutants become forceful. The reason for water pollution varies among different levels. In relation to technology and the environment, it reveals that a large cause for water pollution is thermal pollution.
Thermal pollution is a temperature change in natural bodies of water in which destructs the quality of water (Langford, p. 78). The reason for temperature change is due to human influence. Water is often used as a coolant by industrial manufactures which then returns the water to its natural environment at a higher temperature causing a decrease in oxygen supply. Species within the damaged marine are living in a highly harmful habitat and species often tend to die. Thermal pollution, mainly caused by power plants, is a form of environmental damaging caused by technology. However, technology is instilled for the purification and repairing of contaminated waters. To reduce the thermal pollution technology is needed for control. In order to fix this problem the temperature of water must reach a lower level which calls for cooling towers and cogeneration (Producing Reliable Energy & Preserving the Environment, par. 31). Both cooling towers and cogeneration are processes for obtaining wasted heat. Cooling towers are devices in which eliminate heat that would otherwise not be used. This heat is let out in the atmosphere causing less oxygen and damage to bodies of water.
However, cooling towers use the principles of evaporation to cool down the temperature. Cogeneration is also used to help reduce thermal pollution. Cogeneration typically functions for the same purpose however through this process heat is captured to be recycled in order to produce less heat for the environment. Air pollution is also caused by technology and human influence. Similar to water damage, air pollution is derived from chemicals and toxins which are released into the atmosphere. Thus, the toxins begin to reveal the depletion of natural resources. Fuel combustion and automobile transportation are two large factors of air pollution. Both factors release a production of heat and chemicals into the atmosphere causing for an excessive amount of wasted heat. Furthermore, the problem of extra heat leads to the production of a number of harmful health issues and environmental scrutiny. Global warming, global pollution, smog, and ozone layer damaging are all results of air pollution.
The use of transportation releases high levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides (Ophardt, par. 3). Fuel combustion also releases chemicals into the atmosphere such as sulphur oxide (Uherek, par. 1). Fuel combustion is present in the home as well as large industrial plants. Many devices are created to prevent the release of such toxins in the air. Technology is thus needed in order to reduce the problems that technology has created. Electrostatic precipitators and baghouses devices both help in the reduction of air pollution. Electrostatic precipitators remove chemicals from the air by using an electrostatic charge (Friedman, par. 2). The electrostatic charge allows for filtration by removing dust particles and smoke (Friedman, par. 3). Baghouses are devices that are created to do a similar job. They remove dust particles from the air as it passes through the baghouse. The dust accumulates within the inside of the bags. Human involvement in the overuse of heating/cooling devices, washing machines, dishwashers, transportation and other harmful causes of environmental degradation is becoming more and more detrimental.
There are many ways in order to conserve energy. The smallest of things around the house, such as turning down the refrigerator, can aid in the conservation of energy. However a large part of the world is too naive to consider the environment and that of their own health. Environmental scientists and investigators need to take a look at the bigger picture in order to save energy. Solar energy and wind-up chargers are two functions in which create ways to reduce the overuse of energy. Solar power conserves energy which transfers the heat from the sun into electricity (Ryan, par. 1). This type of technology provides the function of recycling of sunlight in order to prevent chemicals from harming the environment.
Wind-up chargers are also devices in which use a winding handle to produce electricity (Ryan, par. 4). These alternative energies have little, or no, pollutants damaging the environment and still allow for an efficient way of living. Technologies may be rather detrimental to the environment. Many pollutants and chemicals are released into the atmosphere which harms a lot of the world’s natural resources. Through advanced technologies it is possible to restore the damage that has been done. Through purifications of water carried out by cooling towers and cogeneration; through purifications of air performed through electrostatic precipitators and baghouses; and through the conservation of energy displayed through the invention of solar power, technology is simply inevitable.