With science and technology is the solution to

With the innovation of green technology and the increased usage of it, itis no doubt that some might believe science and technology is the solution toour environmental problems. On the other hand, there are also those who feelthat technology is the root cause of these problems as proven by the spike inthe number of environmental issues starting from the industrial revolution. Itis understandable why these critics might say that we should stay away from theuse of technology. Ultimately, there needs to be a balance in the use oftechnology.

It would be stubborn to deny the benefits technology could bring inenvironmental conservation. At the same time, it is not the ultimate solutionand definitely not the sole one. Argument: Science can help to address some environmental woesTime and time again, it hasbeen proven how new technology are able to provide solutions that address ourenergy woes. These technologies not only curb carbon emissions, but alsobalances the environment with the need of meeting our demand for energy topower economy. Undoubtedly, technology has led to the creation of moreinnovative appliances and devices that are far more efficient in the use ofenergy yet do not compromise the quality of modern life.

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It has directlyimpacted people’s lives as technological fixes try to address energyconsumption in our daily lives and today, inventions such as hybrid or electriccars, and even planes are now designed to be more fuel efficient. Some modifiedplanes are also able to fly on a mix of biofuels and oils. Recently, NASA hasalso been looking into making lighter and more energy efficient plants, researchingintensively into biofuels to design plants that specifically give out more oil.Boeing another company that has also been reported to be investing in researchof climate friendly planes. Use of such appliances allow room for a lifestylechange as it opens up numerous possible options for consumers to make theswitch towards greener vehicles and clean energy. For consumers, this is awin-win solution as appliances that come with green labels to signify energyefficiency are also cheaper. In terms of pragmatism, the use of energyefficient appliances are highly encouraged. Not just the advancementsin technology, science itself has also made commendable progress as scientistsare constantly finding new ways to address environmental problems, some provingto yield results.

Science has certainly led to the creation of alternativeenergy sources thus countries are now investing huge sums to explore cleanenergy. The level of investments in environmental conservation has reached apoint where there is some form of competition between countries and in 2009, Chinaovertook US in becoming the leading investor in renewable energy technologies. Globally,investments have more than doubled in the last 5 years.

Countries are jockeyingfor leadership, knowing that investing in clean energy can renew manufacturingbases and create export opportunities, jobs and businesses. Such progress isextremely relieving and reduces a lot of burden on the environment asalternative energy sources cuts our reliance on fossil fuels which is thelargest culprit of carbon emissionsArgument: Innovativeadvancements are able to target specific problems but it is not the be-all andend-all solution. With everysolution, there are always limitations. Science and technology providessolutions to environmental problems but they have not been fully effective asthese solutions have also generated other problems and thus are not alwaysfoolproof. In 2011 China’s Three Gorges Dam – the largest hydropower plant, wasreported to be having urgent problems. Warnings were given out, alerting theChinese of certain environmental, construction and migration disasters and  the worst drought to hit southern China in 50years. Because of the occurrence of disasters, there have been seriousrepercussions as people’s livelihood were threatened. Drought have occurred insome due to water being diverted to the dam, continuous digging andconstruction has led to landslides and water pollution, affecting water qualitydownstream.

In the end, the effectiveness and impacts of scientific solutions liein the hands of those who are making use of it and the actions taken to putthese plans in place. Just like the invention of biofuels, production ofethanol was supposed to be a cleaner process but it has not been completelysuccessful due to other attendant problems. Land needs to be cleared to plantnew crops, leading to extensive soil erosion and deforestation. Science and technology only solve symptoms and surface problems. They merelyprovide a “technical fix” but do not fully address the root problems which isunrestrained growth, addiction to convenience, consumerism and apathy.

Over-reliance on S to solve our woes is dangerous as it lulls us intogreater apathy and belief that we need not do anything. In truth, the solutionto environmental problem lies not so much in science itself but rather ourattitudes towards environmental conservation. Ultimately, lifestyle changes maybeen even more effective than science itself. Conversely, the usage and successof science has given as an excuse to transfer our individual responsibility inenvironmental conservation. People assume a lot is already being done and takeit that they do not have to change.

Addressing other causes are thus just asimportant, the most important factor that we need to change are our mindsets.Governments must have an innate political will to create change and strictlyimplement policies to encourage and promote use of products and clean energysources. Only when the government makes a clear stance, the people will startto lower their resistance to changing their lifestyle habits, consume less.This is especially important in countries that have yet to develop to be technologicallycapable or have yet to gain the ability to invest in renewable energy sources.

Forthese countries, technological ventures are too expensive and risky at presentas it is not cost efficient in a situation where bread-and-butter issues arestill very real for people. This is why a change in mindset of the people canbe the most powerful tool.


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