Our world is endangered more than ever. The development of technology has brought many advantages but also caused the mass production of goods, leading to an increasing amount of harmful waste, climate-change-inducing greenhouse gases, and toxic material. If technological advancement caused all of this, can we also use technology to make things right? Here are some of the technological achievements that can likely help save the world.
Driverless and electric cars
Carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles greatly contribute to the greenhouse effect that is raising the temperature of our planet, so switching to electric cars would contribute to solving this problem. One of the reasons fossil fuels are still in demand is the sheer number of internal combustion vehicles on the roads. With the popularization of electric vehicles, this need will also diminish.
In addition to electric vehicles, the implementation of smart technology in the form of self-driving units can also greatly reduce carbon emissions. This tech will include fuel rationalization, which will come from the better coordination of personal and commercial vehicles, reducing the unnecessary traffic. However, simply introducing electric cars will not reduce the demand for energy, which leads us to our next point.
Alternative sources of energy
Greenhouse-emitting fossil fuels are still the main way of producing electricity. However, other, cleaner technologies are gaining popularity, especially in the sense of solar and wind energy. These technologies are characterized by zero emissions and they use resources that cannot be spent. An encouraging piece of information is that the solar industry has recorded an average growth rate of 68% yearly for the past ten years.
Apart from that, better storage of the energy produced is also important. For example, Tesla, the car manufacturer, developed a home battery called Powerwall that is charged by solar panels from your roof and can supplement your daily electricity consumption, even allowing you to go “off the grid” for some time.
Plastic is one of the greatest pollutants of our environment. Since it is cheap to produce, some 300 million tons are manufactured every year, and there is no incentive for it to be recycled. It takes several centuries for plastic to decompose, emitting many harmful substances in the process. These substances then go to our water and earth, polluting the food we eat and water we drink.
The solution comes in the form of biodegradable plastic-like materials that can replace plastic in every way, but degrade quickly without emitting any toxic substances. An example is Polylactic acid (PLA), which is produced by starch fermentation, mostly from corn, wheat, or sugarcane.
The Ocean Cleanup
Oceans are particularly endangered by the problem of garbage, especially plastic. There are 5 ocean garbage patches the size of entire countries, the largest of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Therefore, the Ocean Cleanup initiative created a system that collects the plastic relying only on natural ocean currents and sophisticated algorithms to guide the positioning of the system. Their goal is a 50% reduction of the patches every 5 years and a plastic-free ocean by 2050.
It seems that the situation is not so bleak after all; however, everybody has to play their part if we are to live in a safer, cleaner world.