In the modern era, science and technological evolution revolutionized the way that we live our lives completely. When we think about science and technology carefully, the very first thing that leaps to our mind may be the ultra-devices that most of us carry with us and use every single day. Tablets, laptops, computers, smart phones, and numerous others have brought us some unimaginable benefits. But one cannot deny the fact simply that these daily life technologies have come at a huge cost for the environmental issues.
Other modern electronic devices, along with these, present grave concerns when it comes to the use of resources, carbon footprint, energy use, waste and many more. When we look closely at the complete life cycle of our technological devices closely, it becomes easy to notice why these electronic marvels pose a huge issue for our environment.
5 Top Reasons behind the Environmental Issues
Most of us and the entire environment suffer from innumerable negative impacts of overexposure to science and tech in the recent era. In today’s comprehensive post, we will walk you through certain devastating effects of science and technology on the different aspects of the environment. Reading this will not only put your miles ahead, but it is sure to change your perspective completely in the long run.
#1. Mining for Minerals
In the opinions of the best minds associated with science and technology services, while analyzing the environmental cost of technology, it is crucial to consider what materials went into it creating in the first place. An increasing number of finite natural resources and precious metals contributed hugely to the creation of our scientific, electronic devices and other modern-day technology.
However, when you begin to plunge deep into where the various elements originated from- the environmental toll begins to mount up tremendously. The process of mining itself comes with a high carbon expense. The giant machineries are normally powered by fossil fuels that consume huge proportions of water. Mining is responsible for pollution, landscape degradation, deforestation, and water pollution and the release of huge quantities of CO2 into the air.
When you consider the issues of cobalt mines in the Congo, lakes of toxic sludge in Inner Mongolia, and the lithium despoiling in the Chilean desert, you can comprehend how our desires for new innovations and the need for rare earth materials impact the environment. And, these three examples are simply the tip of the iceberg. The more you delve deep, the more worrisome and bleaker the environmental picture becomes.
#2. Relation of Carbon Footprint and Massive Energy Use
Now, let us tell you- the huge environmental impact of science and technology does not end with raw materials and where they originated from. Numerous manufacturers use massive energy to transform them into overly complicated electronic and technological products we use in our daily lives. The mere transportation of these products around the wide world also comes equipped with a huge carbon cost.
Undoubtedly, the giant servers and data banks that enable the proper functioning of these technologies also make use of huge quantities of energy each year. Much of that does not come from renewable energy resources. As a matter of fact, the Global Data Center Electricity demand in 2018 was estimated at 198 TWh or almost 1% of final global demand for electricity.
It is also worth noting that each time we plug in an electronic device to a non-renewable source, our use of that device tends to come with a huge carbon cost. This also contributes largely to greenhouses gases and our climate crisis.
#3. Massive Water and Air Pollution
Air pollution tends to happen when excessive quantities of harmful gases like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, and methane are launched into the earth’s atmosphere. The primary sources all relate to technologies that originated following the industrial revolution, like the burning of fossil fuels, factories, power stations, mass agriculture and vehicles. The consequences of air pollution also incorporate negative health impacts for humans, animals, and global warming. Similarly, the increased quantity of greenhouse gases in the air traps thermal energy in the atmosphere and causes the global temperature to rise high.
On the other hand, water pollution is the result of contamination of water bodies due to human activities. Common water pollutants are domestic waste, industrial effluents, insecticides, and pesticides. A specific example of such pollution is the release of improperly treated wastewater into natural water bodies that can lead to the degradation of aquatic ecosystems eventually. There are also other severe detrimental effects of water pollution like typhoid, cholera, eutrophication, and the destruction of ecosystems that impacts the food chain of the earth negatively.
#4. Depletion of Natural Resources
The huge depletion of resources is another negative impact of technology on the environment. This denotes the consumption of a resource swiftly than it can be replenished. There are numerous kinds of depletion, with the most severe being aquifer depletion, deforestation, mining for fossil fuel and minerals, soil erosion, huge contamination of resources, and overconsumption of resources. These primarily occur as a result of agriculture, water usage, mining, and consumption of fossil fuels, all of which have been allowed by science and technological advancements.
Go through different forums on science and technology around the world. You will realize that levels of natural resource degradation are also increasing because of the global population. Consequently, the assessment of the world’s eco-footprint is estimated to be one and half times the capacity of the earth to provide each individual with adequate resources to meet their consumption levels successfully.
Furthermore, the consequences of deforestation have never been more serious, with the World Bank reporting that between 1990 and 2015, the net loss of global forest was 1.3 million km2. Due to this, thousands of animals and plants lose their natural habitats and have become extinct.
#5. Impact of The Electronic Wastes
The environmental expense of consumer technology does not end here. The products also pose a huge problem at the end of their useful lives. Globally, we are throwing away $62.5 bn of electronic waste every year.
Only a tiny proportion of old electronic devices are recycled, whereas the majority ends up in landfill sites or burned in dumps. Only around 1/5 of e-waste globally generated is formally recycled presently. But, while e-waste like an age-old essay typer, is recently a huge threat to our environment, one could also view it as a brilliant opportunity. Like, most useful materials can always be reclaimed through closely monitored recycling processes. When someone reclaims rather than digging them up, he/she can reduce both the waste and environmental harm associated with gathering new materials. This leads to providing human beings with both environmental and economic benefits.
The higher percentage of environmental issues these days is a direct result of technology management by innovators and users. Environmental pollution, ecological systems disturbances, depletion of natural resources, and global warming are technologically influenced.
Thus, if we can’t learn to unplug and tune out soon enough, our environment and this world are bound to suffer even more than it already has. Technology has ample exemplary things to offer us, but that doesn’t imply that it’s devoid of negative outcomes as well.
In the end, it is significant to create a balancing act if we plan on using technology to its maximum advantage. We should use science and technology to definitely satisfy human needs and make sure that it never goes out of our control and negatively impacts the environment.