In a modern world human beings are essentially running out of resources. It is often heard that evidence of environmental damage being created by humanity is inconclusive. It is not a subject often discussed within modern media and until recently, a majority of the population remained unaware to the growing issues currently challenging the Earth. This ecological crisis could persuasively be blamed upon the rapidly advancing world of technology, however anthropogenic studies, (MacKenzie, D. 1999), along side growing environmental evidence show mankind has not evolved at the same speed of these new found technologies, hence is technology to blame for our ecological crisis or is mankind? Do these machines now control individual lives and are human beings becoming slave to the very technologies they have created? This thesis will explore these questions within developing nations and argue that it is not technology at fault for the Earth's increasing temperature's and environmental damage, rather western societies ideology that mankind is unable to survive without it, (technology).
Humanity has essential needs such as shelter, food and protection, with continual growth in population, these needs are multiplied. Technology has been used to improve lives by developing electricity, transport and farming equipment and improving health care, education and housing systems. Human beings have a fundamentally competitive nature according to the British Broadcasting Commission News, (2002), that is depleting resources, sending animals and plant species to extinction through deforestation and pollution.
“Now our insights and inventions have give our species unprecedented power to change our surroundings with unpredictable consequences”. (Suzuki, D. 2004, pp157). Humanity has also competed against each other in many wars over land, politics and religion using technology to advance weapons, ultimately leading to the atomic bomb, (Simkin, J. 2013). The history of technology has seen rapid advancement in all industries from weapons to machinery and science and engineering. Evidence shows technology is required to progress as a species and there have been many positive advancements made, (MacKenzie, D. 1999, p 2). With these advancements, scientists have been able to identify and resolve key environmental issues, re-create habitats and environments, cure diseases and assist in the re-production of endangered or extinct flora and fauna, (King, D, 2004). History however shows the burning of fossil fuels in buildings, vehicles and equipment, heavy consumption of our resources and our booming population combined over time has created the phenomenon known as Global Warming.
“We live in a society exquisitely dependant upon science and technology in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster”. (Sagan, C. 1994, p 52). Advancement's in technology has given most first world nations an opportunity to develop communities more sustainably, however rather than fix the problems already displayed it seems humanity continues to create more. Gore, A, (2006, pp 28), explains that, “Mankind is raising the average temperature of the Earth”, with the combination of burning fossil fuels and human created green house gases. Gore, A, (2007, pp28), states, “We are creating disastrous changes in the climate around us”. Climatologists consider this to be Global Warming. Greenhouse gases also occur naturally, such as carbon dioxide and methane. Earth requires all of these attributes to keep the temperature stable. In 2007, Executive director of The United Nations Environmental Programme, Steiener, A, stated, “Fossil fuel use, agriculture and land use change are fundamentally affecting the systems on our planet”. Approximately 60% of emissions are related to human activities. (Climate science of Methane, p19). Farming, waste treatments, fertilisers and burning down forests for example are, along with the burning of fossil fuels, all turning into green house gases hence affecting the sustainability and stability of the planet.
The economy is a developing nations number one priority leaving depleting resources, environmental issues and the Earth itself in second place. In recent research scientists and economists have begun to understand the serious financial consequences ahead if global carbon emissions are not reduced quickly. Property damage, mass migration, loss of productivity and coping costs will all outweigh living costs. (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2011). Today information is widely available to the general public due to internet access increasing individual and community awareness of global issues. The rising concern amongst the population is a general consensus that unless humanity explores the underlying causes of Global Warming and ensures steps are taken to prepare and act, mankind will endure devastating consequences, (Gore, A. 2005). Individually, mankind can reduce personal impact on the planet by taking steps to replace old habits for new. Everything we do including consumable goods, material possessions and housing all are extracted from the Earth's depleting resources, (Crocombe, A. 2007). As technology continues to advance, mankind will need to rely more on energy efficient, environmentally friendlier ways to live or face the possibility of extinction.
Current employment industries focus heavily on computers. Technology advancement made it so that positions once well paid and of a certain degree of intelligence, are now lower paid with less required skills. (Gold, M, 1993), wrote a journal describing future employment as, “Workers becoming babysitters for machines”. Gold goes onto describe, “that there are two types of positions to fill, the Space walker and the McJobber's. The space walker is the executive who controls the machines while the McJobbers are those employed to run them.” (Gold, M, 1993). The effects technology is having on mankind is also evident, throughout modern history humans have relied upon computers to run companies, tell time, organise schedules, work and communicate. Social media has become increasingly popular for networking and as a forum to raise political and world issues. According to the American Red Cross Association, (2010), social media is being utilised as a platform assisting civilians caught in hostile environments as well as during global environmental disasters. Mobile phones and portable internet devices allow the user to source and send information quickly. There are approximately seven billion people on the planet and it is estimated that approximately six billion of these have mobile phones. (United Nations News Centre, 2013).
With anything on Earth, there requires balance, none more so than with technology, the environment and mankind. It is clear humanity has created and discovered technologies far beyond current capabilities and instead of controlling the very “machines” designed to enhance our lives, most western societies have formed a dependency. Developing nations rely heavily upon technology within employment sectors, transport and consumable goods, hence creating environmental damage on a global scale with overwhelming evidence. Thoreau, H.D. (2007) stated that “In wilderness is the preservation of the world”. Action is required on an individual and multi national level and responsibilities must be taken to ensure the longevity of the Earth.
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