But it has not only benefited mankind. As technology evolves over time it is also helping us reduce our impact on the very environment that gave birth to, and nurtured us for millennia.
What technologies are helping us protect the environment?
So, without further ado, here are some amazing technologies that are doing their part to protect the environment. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. The digital revolution is helping with deforestation
With more and more aspects of business (and personal life) becoming digital, many organizations are leaning towards using a lot less paper than before. The rise of smartphones and apps has, especially, helped reduced the need for paperwork when completing things like surveys or on-site data collection, for example.
Invoices, newsletters, and other forms of communication are also now primarily in digital formats rather than regular old "snail mail" hard copies. Other apps are quickly replacing diaries, notebooks, etc, which are reducing the need to cut down trees.
2. The rise of the "Sharing Economy" is also helping to protect the environment
The rise of the so-called "Sharing Economy" is another aspect of technology that is helping to protect the environment. With companies like Uber, Airbnb, and even Netflix, fewer people are using or even buying cars, helping used spaces to stay vacant during holidays, and practically eliminating the need for hard copies of films respectively.
The latter, more specifically, is reducing the need for sending things by post thanks to the switch to streaming services.
3. Electric cars could also have a huge impact (or might be a double-edged sword)
The rise in the development and popularity of electric cars is also helping the environment. Although not a new technology, per se, the number of EVs on the roads has been rising steadily over the past few years.
Hybrid vehicles are also more popular than ever.
This is, in part, thanks to the drop in average unit price over time, as well as, massive improvements to the technology making them more reliable. But, their production does require the use of a lot of some pretty nasty toxic metals whose extraction and refinement are not exactly environmentally-friendly.
4. Our homes are becoming smarter and more environmentally-friendly
In a Smart home environment Home Energy Management plays a critical role in finding a suitable and reliable solution to reduce the peak demand and achieve energy conservation. #ROX will help reduce the demand peaks. More on https://t.co/8TFx1f1Wij pic.twitter.com/K8DbDaWwqn— Robotina (@robotinarox_io) June 15, 2018
With more and more homes around the world becoming "smarter", this technological revolution is really making a change for the better with regards to helping the environment. A large swathe of devices like smart meters, smart thermostats, and motion-activated lighting sensors are helping shred electricity wastage in the home.
Not to mention in the workplace. This has a massive knock-on effect on the environment as homes (and businesses) consume less and less energy (and fuel) as they become smarter.
5. Renewable tech is finding some interesting solutions to help the environment
Ubiquitous Energy is developing a special kind of “solar glass” designed to convert sunlight into electricity, minus the traditional photovoltaic panels. And it doubles as a window #WeLoveStem #SolaHD https://t.co/PnPykRKCR4— Sergio L Pasquali (@slpasquali64) April 22, 2020
Renewable technology really has gotten into its stride over the last few decades. And research and development in this area are really making some innovative solutions that can really help the environment.
One interesting example is the development of solar glass. By combining PV-tech with regular glazing units, this could be a game-changer for self-generation at home or for businesses.
After all, rather than consuming large amounts of space with solar PV arrays, why not just change your windows to solar glass? While still an emerging technology, these solar glazing units are still transparent enough to see out of too.
6. Tech is helping revolutionize environmental monitoring
Watch: By using drones, an anti-poaching team saved a young elephant from drowning https://t.co/eJAkF92UFi— National Geographic (@NatGeo) April 2, 2017
Another way technology is helping to protect the environment is through revolutionizing environmental monitoring. Either directly through sensors monitoring air quality to the use of things like drones to patrol poacher exclusion zones, tech is finding some interesting applications.
New tech can also be put through its paces using Environmental Simulations to ensure it complies with regulations prior to hitting the market.
7. "Fake meat" could also have a massive impact on the environment
Meat substitutes are a hotly contested topic, whether you're a stock trader or a burger connoisseur. But regardless, plant-based meats are helping the environment and helping people eat healthier if they so choose. Now, watching @BeyondMeat, fake meat is rewarding investors too! pic.twitter.com/npKx0wjlFC— Pacific Investment Research (@PacificInv) January 13, 2020
Another way that technology is, or rather will, help protect the environment is through the development of "fake meat". Meat production is not the most environmentally-friendly industry.
Animal suffering aside, animal husbandry for meat tends to consume large amounts of land, water, and other resources. Rather than an outright ban on the consumption of meat, a better (and more realistic) approach is the development and introduction of synthetic meat.
Several companies are already doing this and if widely accepted, this would be of enormous benefit to the environment around us.
8. Plant-based plastics are potentially a huge boon for the environment
Meet Luna. 🌙 Our new range of sanitary products made from organic cotton & renewable, plant-based materials! 🌱 Each liner is chemical free, vegan friendly PLUS free from any fossil fuel based plastics. 🥰💚 Find out more online now: https://t.co/6DXnSI9sdY pic.twitter.com/riLFoC7fik— Superdrug (@superdrug) April 15, 2020
Another way that technology is going to massively benefit the environment is the advent of plant-based plastics. With the enormous demand for plastic around the world, by switching from the oil-based plastic to plant-derived forms will be massively beneficial.
Not only are they biodegradable but they are very much more sustainable than traditional forms. However, it should be noted that not all bioplastics biodegrade so we will need to be very selective going forward.
9. Graphene could have a very bright and green future
And finally, graphene has many interesting physical properties that could make it a game-changer for the future of the environment's health. It is thinner than paper, more conductive than copper, and really is one of a few materials that could be considered truly "miraculous".
First developed in 2004, many people are predicting that it could lead to the next step in the technological evolution of our species. It could conceivably be used for ultra-efficient water filters, or as a superconductor that could transfer energy over long distances with minimal loss.
It could also be the material we have been waiting for to produce ultra-efficient solar panels.