Technology has many benefits, including offering everyone the chance to be more sustainable. But unfortunately, technology can also be unsustainable, depending on how it works and what it’s used for. On the one hand, green technology is a sustainable technology that contributes to a lower carbon footprint. In contrast, other forms of technology can harm our environment by increasing the need for energy. This article will discuss the sustainability pros and cons of technology in the modern world.
Pros of Technology
Technology can positively impact the environment, depending on its use and what it was created for. Here are ways technology can enhance sustainability.
Reduce or Eliminate Paper Use
Technology can eliminate the use of paper in offices and our personal lives. For example, instead of taking notes with pen and paper, you can use a laptop or tablet and eliminate the need for paper. Think about all the paper you throw out every week. Instead of maintaining a paper-based system, you can start to store your documents electronically and reduce the need for mass paper in your office. You can also save money by saving paper, and you can read essential documents on screens instead of downloading and printing them out.
Reduced Fossil Fuel Consumption
Technology promotes a digital workforce to help reduce the need for fossil fuels. Instead of commuting to work or driving yourself, you can work directly from home and stop driving so much. Additionally, having more virtual meetings can help you replace company travel via cross-country flights. Holding virtual meetings or having an entirely remote workforce can help businesses and their employees lead more sustainable lives using communication apps.
Reduces Electricity Use
If you have a remote workforce, you can further reduce your carbon footprint by using less electricity. Since technology allows your employees to work from the comfort of their own homes, you don’t need to rent an office and have the lights on for eight or more hours a day. You also won’t have to worry about utility bills.
Additionally, with apps, you can easily monitor your energy consumption and make changes to reduce your carbon footprint. Innovative technology can also turn your electronics and appliances on and off depending on several factors, including smart thermostats that can help your home stay cool in the summer for a fraction of the cost and lower impact on the environment.
Provides New Opportunities
Technology can help provide the world with new opportunities to become more sustainable. For example, you can easily test your equipment to determine its impact on the environment. Additionally, technology allows us to communicate with people worldwide so new partnerships can form and green companies can be built from the ground up.
Additionally, technology can address many sustainability problems, such as pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and climate change. For example, technology is currently being used to help protect wildlife, including monitoring endangered animals through drones and digital mapping.
Technology can also reduce the devastating impact of wildfires on the environment. In addition, technology can offer early protection to help avoid destroyed habitats and wildlife.
Technology can help us reduce waste by recycling products. For example, you might have water bottles created from recycled plastic in your home. Unfortunately, most plastic doesn’t get recycled, but researchers are looking into creating plastic roads or making containers out of more sustainable materials to solve this issue.
The fashion industry is one of the most significant contributors to waste. Most people throw clothes out instead of donating, and making clothes uses valuable resources, including water. Tech companies are looking for new ways to reprocess old clothes and reduce this waste.
Technology also enables renewable energy. This clean energy naturally replenishes from sunlight and can power homes and businesses. In particular, solar panels are a great choice for homeowners and businesses who want to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their utility bills.
Sustainability Cons of Technology
While technology can help us solve complex climate problems, it may also create problems. Here are the sustainability cons of technology.
Technology can contribute to pollution because many companies may rely on gas to power their technology. Take cars, for example. Even though electric vehicles are becoming mainstream, most Americans drive an internal combustion engine, which requires gas.
Some technologies require more energy than others. For example, cryptocurrency mining requires massive energy to keep the networks and computers running 24/7.
Loss of Wildlife
Technology requires space, and to get that necessary space you have to start building on wildlife habitats. Unfortunately, many large areas have been destroyed to make room for large technological advancements and factories where technology can be built. Because of this human intervention, many plants and animal species have been endangered.
Although many technologies currently don’t aim to decrease our combined carbon footprint, environmental technologies continue to emerge to save the environment. Renewable energy is just one example of a technology meant to help prevent air pollution and our reliance on harmful oil and gas. In addition, renewable energy is quickly becoming one of the most common electricity generators and is likely to increase over the next few years.
Electric vehicles are also becoming more mainstream, with the Biden administration aiming to make half of the vehicles sold in the US electric by 2030.
Green technology is becoming more widespread, with investors focusing on ESG initiatives more than ever. As more people invest money into technology that can help the environment, we expect to see an increase in green technology companies that can help consumers reduce their carbon footprints on a global scale.
Is Technology Good or Bad for the Environment?
Technology impacts the environment in several ways, some of which are good for the environment while others are harmful. The only thing for sure is that green technology is the only technology that can help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and unsustainable energy sources.
If you want to see technology improve the environment, invest in companies with the same values. Those with ESG initiatives aim to improve society and the environment to help you reduce your carbon footprint in your daily life.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.