Is Technology harmful For The Environment?

Buglife, an international organisation devoted to the preservation of invertebrates, has revealed potential research suggesting that the existence of networks, such as Wi-Fi and 2/3/4G networks could be harming bug, plant and bird life. Concerns among environmentalists are growing as the lack of research on the area becomes obtrusive. Could the world be ignorant to potentially deleterious effects, are we in a case of out of sight out of mind?

Even if research is limited on the effects of “invisible” technology on wildlife, there are other quantitative data exemplifying the harm technology is having on the environment. The average mobile phone’s manufacture has a carbon footprint of 16kg. With 7.2bn mobile phones in the world, that means that mobile phones, their shipping, manufacture and use, have a significant effect on the major global issue of climate change. Already climate change has catastrophically transformed environments, such as causing the melting of 280 billion tonnes ice in Greenland and 120 billion tonnes of ice in Antarctica, dramatically reducing the areas for endangered species to inhabit.

The rise of technology use across a plethora of industries, from oil extraction to manufacturing, has fueled lower prices, higher output and in turn the consumerism felt globally today. Such high consumption of many goods services, the manufacture of which is extremely polluting, is continually aggravating the situation of global warming, with global output being proportional to the quantity of CO2 emissions.

However, technology, despite being the cause of the changing environment, it may now be our only hope to save the environment. The rapid advancements in technology have allowed the development of a variety of clean energy sources, from solar panels and wind turbines - methods of energy production taking over from environmentally lethal coal, oil and natural gas.

Technology is also allowing firms to develop bio-degradable alternatives to plastics, reducing the impact of plastic pollution on species on land and in the oceans, currently plagued by plastic and the toxins exuding from plastic waste.

The building sector has also been transformed by technology, with eco-friendly building materials being developed, such as heat-retentive panels to reduce the need for environmentally costly heating. Additionally, the means of building materials has seen its energy efficiency greatly increase amid the rapid integration of new technology into the construction sectors globally.

Overall, therefore, technology has greatly exacerbated the issue of global warming. Yet, if we are to aid the environment, we must now look back to technology to find the quickest and most effective means of preserving the fragile wildlife we coinhabit this world with.