In today’s polymorphous world which changes at a breakneck pace, one must slow down to realize the impact of one’s actions. The age-old wisdom is not lost on today’s people. It might have even cemented itself at the center of their imagination. In the past few centuries, technology has revolutionized society. It has brought immense comfort and joy to people but at the same time, if we pause to take a look at its deeper impacts, one can discern a pattern wherein these advancements have also harmed our world. As a result, the ecological scales have tipped against us and it our fates and the fate of the world we live in that hangs in the balance. Technology has had a tremendously degenerative impact on the environment.
Below are five ways in which technology can harm the world around us:
1. Resource Depletion: The most obvious way in which technology has damaged today’s world is the mad race it has flagged off for resources. In the scramble for resources, we have overused that which was available to us and have been guilty of exploitation. People have razed entire forests to make space for their habitation, for industrial expansion and for making goods and commodities. As a result, deforestation has happened, the soil has eroded and disrupted ecological life.
Automobiles and industries – particularly, manufacturing industries – emit toxic fumes in the environment and add to air pollution. There are a lot of commodities and goods that in their production and use, add greatly to global warming and are responsible for raising the temperature of the earth. That has harmed the biodiversity of the planet and experts claim that if this continues at its present rate, the entire earth might face an existential threat. There is a lot of waste that companies leave behind in the environment. For example, nuclear waste is extremely harmful to the environment and the organisms.
2. Harm to Biodiversity: Often we have heard it said that more than the flora, technology harms the fauna. In other words, it is not only the environment that it harms but also the birds and animals that inhabit it. Take, for instance, the way that telephone towers disrupt nature and harm the activity of the birds. On average, a state in India has hundreds of telephone towers that are, for all functional purposes, high rise buildings. Moreover, these “buildings” emit network signals of varying frequencies and wavelengths that connect people from different parts of the world by complementing the signals that their mobile phones emit.
This has two main negative effects on the lifestyle of the birds. Firstly, since these structures are very tall and dot every state, they are positioned as obstacles in the flight path of birds. Secondly, the frequencies that are emitted by these towers inhibit the proper functioning of these birds as these frequencies and wavelengths, albeit inaudible to the human ear, are audible to the birds and affect the birds. As a result, their entire physiology and ecology are at stake.
3. Disrupting Ecological Balance: Many of the technological industries are not service-based, Silicon Valley enterprises. Many are involved in the manufacture and production sector and produce various types of consumer goods such as wooden furniture, durable land housing, providing irrigational facilities to owners of arable lands, etc. As a result, these industries tend to be very focused and distilled in their approach when it comes to framing industrial activities and as a result, tend to overemphasize the result of one important resource over others and view it as the “key” resource for their industry.
Ecological balance is premised based on equality between the various components of nature – land, water, air, etc. In other words, all of these ecological components need to be equally balanced and in proportion to each other. By overusing one of these components (for example – companies that manufacture furniture tend to use trees and wood-based resources a lot, they upend ecological balance and end up disrupting it. This can have far-reaching and serious implications for planet earth.
4. It Harms Us: Perhaps one of the most adversely affected bioorganisms in this entire ordeal is none other than homo sapiens – us. The human beings of today live in far more perverted conditions that their ancestors. Air pollution, water pollution, and even noise pollution have reached new and unimaginable heights and have cemented themselves as an inherent part of modern society.
As a result, the damage done to our lungs by way of the air we breathe, to our esophagus and our stomach by way of the water we drink, and to our eardrums by way of living in society is all too much. It is no secret that the life expectancy of the human beings that live today are far lower than the life expectancies of their ancestors. Most anthropologists call this phenomenon “slow poisoning”.
5. Space Waste: Space waste or space debris refers to human-made objects in space that no longer serves a useful function. These include objects like nonfunctional spacecraft, parts of satellites and sometimes, even entire derelict satellites. These pose an obstacle to human exploration of space and also to the environment. Since most of these objects are left in space and are not retrieved, they tend to remain close to the earth’s orbit. As a result, some of these defunct pieces of equipment have residual chemicals and gases that leak out of them and they too, are caught in the earth’s orbit and remain trapped in circulation. As a result, it makes further space exploration projects impossible.
However, the solution to the problem is also varied in nature. The primary solution is to find new and economical ways of working without harming the environment. The chief way in which is done is through the innovation of things like better fuel. Another way is to rid ourselves of the dependence of these machines. Less usage would lead to less exploitation. However, in the long run for the sake of sustenance, a combination of both will be required. Only time will tell if we will be able to achieve that.