17 Technology and the Environment

While technology has undoubtedly contributed to environmental degradation in many ways, it also offers solutions for addressing environmental challenges. Technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and drones have revolutionized environmental monitoring and conservation efforts, enabling the real-time tracking of environmental conditions and the identification of potential threats. These technologies can also support the management and restoration of ecosystems, informing policy decisions and resource allocation.

Here, we will explore several aspects of the environment and discuss the ways technology has influenced them, citing specific examples and references where possible.

Climate Change

Fossil fuel-based technologies have been a significant driver of anthropogenic climate change due to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. However, renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage systems, are helping to reduce GHG emissions by providing clean, sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Resource Depletion

The extraction and use of natural resources for technology production and energy generation have led to resource depletion and environmental degradation. However, technologies focused on resource efficiency, recycling, and the circular economy can help to mitigate these impacts by reducing waste and promoting sustainable resource use.

Biodiversity Loss

Habitat destruction and pollution from industrial processes and infrastructure development have contributed to the decline in global biodiversity. Technology can help address this issue through remote sensing and monitoring systems, which enable the tracking of species populations and habitat conditions, informing conservation efforts.

Air and Water Pollution

Technologies related to transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing have contributed to air and water pollution, impacting human health and ecosystems. However, advances in pollution control technologies, such as electric vehicles, precision agriculture, and wastewater treatment systems, can help reduce these environmental impacts.

Waste Management

The rapid growth of technology production and consumption has led to an increase in electronic waste (e-waste), which poses significant environmental and health risks if not properly managed. Recycling technologies and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies can help address the e-waste problem by promoting the recovery and reuse of valuable materials.


It is essential to prioritize the development and adoption of sustainable, environmentally-friendly technologies and to implement policies and practices that minimize the negative impacts of technology on the environment.

See Also

  • Science, technology, and the environment | High school biology | Khan Academy (00:06:24)


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