My last post was about how large technology corporations create nuclear dangers for the environment, animals, wildlife in general, and especially, all humans living near the plants that were built. However, this is not the only way technology has had a negative impact, and I’m not just talking about transportation, even though this is still the most pollution-creating one yet. For example, remember how computers were invented and mainstreamed with the purpose of reducing the use of paper?
With forest clear-cutting on the rise and at the point of being a global crisis, we can’t say that they were really used with that goal in mind. Another perfect example is how we are now manufacturing nature by creating super-plants that can withstand extremely powerful chemical pesticides and herbicides which, with time, destroy the land, the water ,and pollute the air we breathe. Now, what other areas of technology have made us (un)willingly contaminate the planet?
First, let’s take a look at what the United Nations Environment Program, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics has mentioned on the subject:
1- Lost of habitat: land clearance for either raw material or space
2- Disruption of a given habitat through building of pipelines, which disturb animal migration
3- Hazardous waste, such as spills, dumping, and acidification
4- Added greenhouse gas emissions through manufacturing and transportation of goods
5- Depletion of the ozone layer by using certain types of chemicals in the manufacturing process or in the product per se
6- Unsustainable use of a raw material
7- Affecting living resources by consuming or destroying the plant and animal life
8- Digging for resources, such as mines or oil, which lead to water contamination
9- Using land that could serve for other purposes, such as farming or animal habitat
As you can see, there are quite a lot of variables in this equation. The use of technology is vast, to say the least, so one can easily say that it will always have an impact on wildlife and the environment in general. Just fabricating them uses resources. Therefore, even if they are made with natural products and the corporation avoided hazardous chemicals as much as possible, the product you purchased still leaves a footprint.
However, using resources is not the main problem. What seems to be the issue today is our over dependance on technological devices that are often not truly necessary, or that we consume much more quickly or more often than we need. For instance, how many people have an oven, a microwave, a toaster AND a toaster oven? No one really needs all four of these, and most could do very well with only two of them. Or, if you plan on using all four, plan on keeping them for a very long time. Buy quality that will last and won’t need to be replaced every three years.
Technology is the reason why society today is oriented towards mass consumption of goods. Cell phones, especially smart phones, are obsolete after only one year, and they almost always end up in landfills. Those who are conscious of the fact that these devices can be harmful keep accumulating them, but have a very difficult time finding the location to bring them to for proper recycling or finding someone who actually wants to have them (even for free!). Pawn shops no longer accept laptop computers that are more than a year old, and good luck finding one that will take in your PC.
All of these wonderful gadgets lead to spoiled and at times lazy people. How many depend on disposable coffee cups from their favourite restaurants instead of purchasing a travel mug and washing it themselves when they empty it at work? How many no longer want to wait the extra two minutes to heat their soup on the stove instead of the microwave? Or, to take things even further, how many are willing to wash their clothes by hand, even the few garments they own that have ‘hand-wash only’ on the tag? It’s actually not that hard.
Remember, a washing machine only just ‘swooshes’ your clothes around for about twenty minutes. Putting your clothes in a bucket (immediately after taking the item off if you dropped something on it that could eventually stain it) with a bit of detergent and letting it soak for a few hours or overnight, and then hanging the clothing outside during warm weather (or over the bathtub during cold weather) is a great way to save energy. Many Colombians, even if they own a washing machine, will still only put their large items, such as bedsheets, in the washer, and they dry everything outside.
Furthermore, some will also say that our disconnect with nature, due to this overuse of technology, is only just increasing from year to year. We lost touch with the very place we are from: the Earth. We forget that we need it, and should be taking care of it. If we abuse it, we will eventually lose our right to live here.
Please let me know your thougths.