Table of Content
- 1.Mass production for tech devices
- 2.Customers buy refurbished tech
- 3.Heat pollution caused by extensive technological use
- 4.Technological waste causes environmental disruption
- 5.Faster resource depletion
- 6.Automation could negatively impact the environment
- 7.Ultra-radiations from towers
- 8.Increased use of energy by Robots
- 9.Use of multiple servers for mining cryptocurrencies
- 10.Use of cell phones and radiation emittance
- 11.5G Technology uses high energy consumption
- 12.Mass production of automobiles
- 13.Genetic modification and Biotechnology
- 14.Technologies indirectly cause Pollution
- 15.Cloud-based services consume high energy
- 16.AI and 5G can cause Greenhouse emissions
- 17.Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) Consume Energy
- 18.Multiple reasons
Life is inconceivable without technologies, isn’t it? Cellphones, laptops, apps, and automobiles are all examples of how technology became an integral part of our life. It acts as a double-edged sword that may be both beneficial and scary at times. They bring revolutionary improvements to industries and benefit them with economic growth while a few of them cause environmental damage.
Technology and the environment are intricately connected, and understanding these connections is critical in the pursuit of sustainability. In this blog, we will discuss various examples of technology that have a detrimental influence on sustainability.
Mass production for tech devices
Just the fact that there is so much new technology being produced constantly has a terribly negative impact on sustainability. There are always the latest iPhones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, TVs, etc., coming out, and so many people quickly purchase the latest models even when their current ones work just fine. The demand for innovation and bigger and better products all the time means mass production for tech devices never stops, which requires huge amounts of raw materials and emissions for production, with the vast majority of old tech devices not being recycled or repurposed.
Customers buy refurbished tech
The most glaring example of new technology negatively impacting sustainability is how infrequently consumers are inclined to buy refurbished tech. We have become too accustomed to being ditching our old computer or cell phone whenever the newest model comes along, which creates an exorbitant amount of material waste. Purchasing refurbished electronics is a great way to help the planet, and your budget too.
Pretty much all of the production of new devices like laptops and phones has a negative impact on sustainability, especially since buying refurbished devices is an option. Most people want the latest devices, and these companies feel the pressure to lead innovation, which results in the constant production of new devices even though they are truly needed.
Buying a refurbished laptop, for example, is really just as good as buying a new laptop, unless you're using it for specific gaming or other videos/tech uses. You're also making a more sustainable choice by purchasing a refurbished laptop. Electronic waste is becoming a larger problem each year, with no great solution in place yet for what to do with the sheer amount of electronics that are filling up landfills. By buying a refurbished laptop, you're getting a like-new computer and keeping it out of the landfill, while saving a little bit of money as well.
Heat pollution caused by extensive technological use
As the rate of technological advancement increases, so does the rate of environmental heat pollution. The majority of modern technology used on a daily basis in our society generates a great deal of heat and warms the atmosphere. The environment's global temperature has risen at a rapid rate over the past 50 years due to technological advancements. There are many ways in which the use of technology raises the temperature of the atmosphere. The first factor is the increasing use of automobile technology, which generates a great deal of heat in the environment and warms the atmosphere. Even for short distances, people are accustomed to traveling by motorcycle or automobile. The second is that, in the majority of regions, people cut down trees where large factories are constructed, and large types of machinery are used daily. which generates a great deal of heat in the atmosphere. Trees and plants play a crucial role in maintaining the earth's temperature. In addition, factories emit dangerous gases into the atmosphere, which is extremely harmful to humans and other living things and also deplete the atmosphere's ozone layer.
Technological waste causes environmental disruption
In my opinion, technological waste causes environmental disruption. The majority of technology generates a substantial amount of waste that can be extremely harmful to the environment. Most of the technology used in factories generates a substantial amount of waste that is dumped in lakes or elsewhere, which is extremely hazardous to the environment and to living things. The waste of technology produces toxic gases and odors that are extremely hazardous to life. It also contaminates the water that people use on a daily basis and causes a number of deadly diseases. In order to prevent the waste of technology, we must reduce our use of technology, dispose of it in areas where humans do not reside, use water filtration technology to obtain clean water, and employ recycling technology whenever possible.
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Faster resource depletion
Resource depletion is a major negative impact of technology on the environment. Due to technology, many resources are being consumed far faster than they can be replenished. Aquifer depletion, deforestation, mining for fossil fuels, contamination of resources, and soil erosion are all examples of this.
People are mining, using water, and consuming fossil fuels more quickly because of advancements in technology - which leads to faster resource depletion.
Automation could negatively impact the environment
While automation is a phenomenal invention that can help people's lives in enormous ways, without adequate environmental regulations and management, automation could negatively impact the environment. The effects that widespread automation will have on the labor force and working-class population may have a significant effect on environmental concerns. Additionally, the emissions created when installing or implementing any automation feature should not be excessive. They should be offset wherever possible.
Ultra-radiations from towers
Mobile phones are the most practical technology that people use today. A mobile phone is a telecommunication device that facilitates communication with people around the world. The percentage of mobile users increases daily. The telecommunications industry strives to make its services as quick as possible. In order to provide mobile services everywhere in the world, mobile signal towers are constructed in numerous locations across the globe. Mobile towers emit radiofrequency radiation into the environment, which is extremely hazardous to humans and all other forms of life. They attempt to make their services faster by increasing radio frequency radiation, which has a significant impact on living things. When the fifth generation (5g) technology was introduced to the world, I was present. It nearly wiped out all the birds in the city due to its high frequency. This is the extent to which technology impacts our environment.
Increased use of energy by Robots
New technology, while often touted as a panacea for the world's ills, can actually have negative impacts on sustainability. A prime example is the increased use of robotics in manufacturing. While robots are more efficient and precise than human workers, they also require more energy to operate and create e-waste when they break down. In addition, they often displace human workers, leading to unemployment and social unrest. Thus, while new technology can be a powerful tool for fostering sustainability, it must be used judiciously and with caution.
One of the major examples of technology that has a negative impact on sustainability is electricity usage tracking in America, it proves to impact sustainability in quite negative ways, by cutting off unused electrical devices some choices which should be left to the owner are overruled and the effects sometimes are highly unpleasant.
Mining and massive energy usage are also very harmful impacts on both the environment and sustainability and also turn out to be a great source of pollution and erosion. This has massive psychological and physical effects, especially for the coming generations, and has been shown to spike the rates of depression in the country and the world at large.
Use of multiple servers for mining cryptocurrencies
Probably the most obvious example of new technology that has a negative impact on sustainability is the use of multiple servers for mining cryptocurrencies. It's no secret that our increase in technology over the last decade has put a negative strain on the power grid. Mining for cryptocurrencies has increased that strain exponentially.
It is estimated that the Bitcoin network currently consumes as much electricity as the whole of Ireland. The negative environmental impact of this electricity consumption is only set to worsen as the popularity of cryptocurrencies continues to grow, as more and more servers are needed to maintain the blockchain network.
This proliferation of mining servers has even given rise to a new phenomenon called 'crypto-jacking', in which unsuspecting computer users have their devices hijacked by hackers and put to use in mining cryptocurrency operations without their knowledge or consent. So not only is the increasing demand for cryptocurrency putting an unnecessary strain on our environment, it's also leaving people vulnerable to cybercrime.
Cryptocurrencies' main environmental impact results from their energy-intensive activities used for each transaction and for mining new coins. Different cryptocurrencies require different amounts of energy. Some, like Bitcoin, are extremely energy-efficient, while others, like the most popular one, require a lot of energy.
Each Bitcoin transaction is estimated to take about 2100 kilowatt-hours (kWh), about as much as the typical US household consumes in 75 days. Powered by non-renewable energy sources, bitcoin can generate exorbitant greenhouse gas emissions. The annual carbon footprint of Bitcoin is roughly equivalent to the emissions of Argentina - roughly 97.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide.
Due to the potential negative environmental impact, blockchain may still be in its infancy, but as the technology evolves, it will become more friendly to the environment.
Use of cell phones and radiation emittance
Excessive use of these new technologies is not helping the environment at all. Cellphones are a good example of this. In addition to the manufacturing of the phones, the wireless networks and towers have a negative impact on the environment. Cell phone manufacturers use heavy metals and rare earth minerals when making the components of the phones. There is also the energy required in making, maintaining, and powering the towers. Worse still is the radiation emitted.
5G Technology uses high energy consumption
Technologies do not happen by themselves according to the laws of evolution. But once this happens, there will be some negative sustainability impacts as well. One such technology is 5G
5G is a technology, I believe, that will require devices that can take advantage of the potential of this technology, so it will generate a new stream of obsolete equipment that will pass through the waste chain. The development of these new devices also implies an increase in the production of the necessary materials, some of them with a great environmental impact. Consider you are downloading a series with 5G network technology. This will be equivalent to consuming an old 60-watt light bulb lit for 20 hours. This higher consumption resulting from the enormous, predicted use of the 5G networks and the subsequent increase in pollutant emissions is a negative impact on the sustainability of the new 5G technology.
Mass production of automobiles
The arrival of mass-produced cars, planes, and trains has cut the use of horses over the past century. As a result, this has caused a loss of work for the horse-breeding industry. Many of the people working in that industry have been made unemployed. While I can't comment on what their least favorite part of their job was, I can say that they are now looking for something else to do. This has had a big impact on the economy of the countries that relied on the horse-breeding industry.
Genetic modification and Biotechnology
Genetic modification (GM)
Genetic modification has been used for decades now. However, GM crops have not always been successful. In fact, many GM crops are still struggling to gain acceptance among consumers. One of the reasons behind this is that GM crops are often seen as unnatural and unhealthy. This can lead to a loss of trust from consumers.
Biotechnology is the use of genetic engineering to modify organisms. GMOs are considered to be a form of biotechnology. They are widely used today and play a big role in modern agriculture. However, some people believe that they could cause health problems.
Genetically modified foods
The term genetically modified foods refer to food products that contain ingredients derived from genetically engineered microorganisms, plants, or animals. Many countries have strict regulations against these foods while others do not care about them.
Technologies indirectly cause Pollution
The most significant negative influence of technologies on society is pollution. A laptop or smartphone does not release any pollution, but the electricity it consumes does. Because fossil fuels provide the bulk of energy, when people consume more energy, they emit more and more emissions. Automation to turn off idle electric equipment is a modern technological feature that has a negative impact on the environment. Another negative impact of technology on civilization is resource depletion. It happens when a resource runs out faster than it can be replenished. Natural resources are those that existed before humans created them, and they can be sustainable or non-renewable.
Cloud-based services consume high energy
A hidden underbelly of everything cloud is the levels of energy consumed. The cloud is designed to allow more people/organizations to use large amounts of compute and storage services (sort of like strip-mining). Much of which could not easily have been deployed and managed by internal IT staffs (strip-mining is typically too difficult for your run-of-the-mill organization to achieve, i.e., they can't work at that scale).
Basically, cloud makes it easier to consume resources. Given the limitations of our electrical generation capabilities for at least the next 50 years, cloud-based services will consume a, heretofore unknown, level of that generation. This coupled with the increase of EVs will converge to cripple sustainability.
AI and 5G can cause Greenhouse emissions
According to the forum and experts, AI has the potential to accelerate environmental degradation. Using GPUs for machine learning training has already been linked to increased CO2 emissions. Training an AI model to handle human language can result in emissions of nearly 300,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, about five times that of the average American car.
Purchasing new 5G mobile phones could lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Making more IoT devices, phones, and small cells will also increase the mining and use of non-renewable metals that are hard to recycle.
A higher frequency used in 5G technology is also known to be particularly harmful to insects and birds. Shorter wavelengths in higher frequencies are absorbed more readily by insects' bodies, resulting in the heating effect.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) Consume Energy
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), especially those based on Ethereum are among the ones with a high negative impact on sustainability. This is more so if these NFTs are bought and sold for speculative purposes without any real-world economic benefit. An analysis suggested that an average NFT consumes 340 KWH of energy. As a point of comparison, this amount of energy is similar to that consumed by an individual in South Sudan in 7.7 years or by an individual in high-income countries in 13.7 days.
As a business operator, I’m always trying to stay up on and aware of new and exciting technologies, especially when they could impact my field. In the last few years, almost nothing has had the fervor of cryptocurrency and NFTs. Both of these technologies are inextricably linked through the blockchain which is where their biggest strength and intrigue comes from. Their downsides however are also linked: the enormous amount of energy required to mint both crypto coins and NFTs. Creating, spending and trading Bitcoin requires 91 terawatt-hours of electricity every single year, dwarfing the amount used annually by Finland, a country with more than five MILLION citizens. The idea of decentralized currencies, art, and the general advantages of Web3 is absolutely enticing to those of us that do business on the internet but at the moment, the environmental impacts are undeniable.
"All techniques, skills, methods, and processes employed in industrial production and scientific research are the result of accumulated knowledge and application. Business operations can be expedited and costs reduced thanks to technological advancements. Even while technology can't do everything, it does so at a lower cost and with more efficiency. Modern technology has simplified instruction.
Among the many areas of life where technology has had a significant impact are agriculture, transportation, banking, communication, health, and pollution management. It's only tools and know-how that make technology what it is. It implies that we have a working knowledge of machines. Everyone's life is made easier by the use of tools.
Even though technology has unquestionably benefitted the world, its negative effects and abuse have also been documented. Isolation, melancholy, anxiety, and insomnia are just a few of the side effects of becoming overly reliant on technology.
Let's start with the concept of isolation. While social media is designed to bring people together, in certain cases, it can instead divide them. People who frequently use social media are three times more likely to feel isolated than those who do not.
Findings in the study of depression were ambiguous at best. Users' feelings of despair and anxiety were found to be alleviated when they were exposed to more positive interactions and social support on these sites. However, the opposite was true as well. Individuals who were more vulnerable to social comparison and experienced more unpleasant social interactions online reported higher levels of anxiety and despair.
Finally, it's possible that utilizing electronics right before going to bed will disrupt your sleep. The brain is stimulated by blue light, such as that from mobile phones and electronic books."
Modern industries witness several breakthrough changes due to technological innovation and thrive to employ them for commercial growth. However, it acts as a double-edged sword that may be both beneficial and scary at times. Technology and the environment are closely connected. Therefore, recognizing these links is critical for seeking sustainability. In this blog, we went through various instances of technology that have a negative impact on sustainability. It explains how ignoring negative consequences may be damaging to humans and make them pay for it.