The Good of Technology Alone is Insufficient for Significant Global Change in Improving Environmental Conditions Technology is enabling us to increase the efficiency at which we use our resources by creating appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines which require less water and energy and water/resources than manually performing the tasks. However, with the increase in efficiency, demand and consumption has also gone up, canceling out the positive impact of decreased need for resources gained from technology.
In order to prevent he environment from continuing this downward spiral, we as humans must make behavioral changes as well as technological advances. The modern society is that of an anthropocentric one, so distinct from the previous Holocene that it was given a new name: the Anthropocentric (The Economist, 2011 The Anthropocentric is characterized by an increasing emphasis on human welfare and benefit, or in other words, anthropocentric.
Governments, societies, and individuals strive to improve their own economic and social standing relative to other humans by exploiting resources from the earth. This leads to the concept of consumerism. The word “consumer” has become almost synonymous with “person” in present first world societies (During, 1992). We increasingly become taken in by the idea that material goods define our success and happiness. However, as found by studies mentioned by During (1992), the correlation between consumption and personal happiness is weak.
Even so, we continue to demand more for less, purchase price brand name products, envy after the rich, and drool over fancy superstars. The recent exponential growth of science has brought upon many benefits to odder society. Technology has enabled the advance of medicine to the point that the life expectancy in many countries has dramatically increased (Cunningham & Cunningham & Sago, 2005). It has also allowed for the development of products and appliances which perform tasks using fewer resources than if were completed manually.
These technologies enable the decrease in resource consumption for the same output. An example Of such technologies is the assembly line. In the early 20th century, Henry Ford developed a system which had the capability of mass producing automobiles During, 1992). This decreased the number of human laborers and thus decreased the cost of developing automobiles. As the cost of a product decreases its demand increases as more consumers are now able to purchase the product. The same process is still happening in our current society.
Companies are continually developing more and more indigenous ways to decrease input while increasing output, consequently leading to an increase in demand. As we become more aware to the stress that human consumption is placing on the environment, scientists and environmentalists rye to find new ways of combating the issue of resource depletion, one of which being the recycling bin program (Skates, 2000). Although it has become widely accepted and well known in first-world countries, recycling alone is not enough to solve the issue of resource depletion.
According to Professor Macdonald (2014), recycling is the least important of the three Or’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle (in order of importance). If that is the case, then we as the consumers must focus on reducing and reusing our resources and products in addition to recycling. Some reuse-promoting programs are already in place and have been relatively successful, such as the reusing of glass alcoholic beverage bottles and aluminum water bottles (Macdonald, 2014).
However, in order to achieve an even stronger positive impact on the environment, we must change our behavior and attitude towards consumption. Little by little, we need to recognize consumerism is a problem within and of itself and may very well become the demise of our planet if not acted upon. In conclusion, strongly agree with Professor McDonald’s view that although genealogy is working to improve the state of our environment, it is pointless if we do not improve our way of thinking and make behavioral changes.