Is There A Future In Renewable Energy?
Technological advances which have helped sustain and even ameliorate the environment are as diverse as they are substantial. From reducing mankind’s carbon footprint to easing the load of pollutants and toxins on the planet, technology’s positive impact has also made life more efficient and enjoyable. Although much more work needs to be done in helping to clean up and improve the environment, it is clear that technology has made a good start.
Using fossil fuels such as natural gas, petroleum, and coal to produce energy increases carbon dioxide emissions, which in turn increases air and water contamination, global warming, and the threat to vulnerable wildlife. On the other hand, technology continues to make advancements in harnessing sustainable, renewable energy from sources such as the sun, wind, and tides, all of which can supply electricity without damaging the environment. Every solar panel system installed in a home or business provides clean energy without sacrificing air and water quality, and without harming wildlife. The environment is protected as research continues to improve the efficiency and availability of alternative energy sources.
Technology has enhanced automobile design since the late 1960s. Today many cars contain more than one hundred microprocessors. Advances include GPS navigation systems, assisted parking, reverse sensing systems, voice control, and keyless ignition. Efficient hybrid vehicles have a gasoline engine and at least one electric motor, powered by rechargeable batteries. This significantly lessens carbon emissions, making the air cleaner for all living things. The Tesla Model 3 automobile makes the need for gasoline obsolete, and carbon emissions non-existent. The level of efficiency in these cars proportionately works in favor of the environment. With electric motors that have only two moving parts, Tesla automobiles are virtually maintenance free, to the delight of their owners.
Because millions of tons of plastic are dumped in overflowing landfills each year, the composition chemicals end up leaching into groundwater. Over one trillion plastic bags make up a significant portion of that waste. In response to this environmental nightmare, one technology company has developed biodegradable plastic bags made from cassava, the starchy root of a tree found in tropical areas. Eliminating the need for petroleum-based bags, Avani Eco has found a sustainable and renewable source to produce bio-plastic bags that will not damage the planet.
Even though trees are a renewable resource, the world’s insatiable need for paper and paper products has created a crisis of deforestation and forest degradation. With the loss of forests, there has been a decrease in wildlife, an increase in climate change, and a disruption in water cycles. Less paper use means less loss of forests. Technology has moved written communication from postal mail to email. Businesses keep files in the cloud instead of in cabinets. They also use online invoices and payments instead of paper documents. Digital books have replaced printed books in the hearts of many bibliophiles. In these and a myriad of other ways, technology is helping society move away from the over-consumption of natural resources.
Gone are the days when parents had to remind children constantly to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Technology has turned homes into smart, energy saving, programmable human habitats. Thermostats are able to adjust temperatures independently throughout the day, making inhabitants comfortable when they are home, and saving energy when they are not. Lights turn off automatically when someone leaves the room, and turn on again when someone’s presence is detected. Multi-zone, computer-controlled HVAC systems cut energy costs, aided by automatic blinds which block the sun at critical times of the day. Irrigation systems keep lawns and gardens green, while saving water by directing it only when and where it does the most good.
Although serious problems such as pollution and toxic waste can occur from technological progress, the proper use and management of technology has helped mitigate the damage that has already occurred to the environment, and continues to bring about positive change for the planet.