With science and technology is the solution to

With the innovation of green technology and the increased usage of it, it
is no doubt that some might believe science and technology is the solution to
our environmental problems. On the other hand, there are also those who feel
that technology is the root cause of these problems as proven by the spike in
the number of environmental issues starting from the industrial revolution. It
is understandable why these critics might say that we should stay away from the
use of technology. Ultimately, there needs to be a balance in the use of
technology. It would be stubborn to deny the benefits technology could bring in
environmental conservation. At the same time, it is not the ultimate solution
and definitely not the sole one.


Argument: Science can help to address some environmental woes

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Time and time again, it has
been proven how new technology are able to provide solutions that address our
energy woes. These technologies not only curb carbon emissions, but also
balances the environment with the need of meeting our demand for energy to
power economy. Undoubtedly, technology has led to the creation of more
innovative appliances and devices that are far more efficient in the use of
energy yet do not compromise the quality of modern life. It has directly
impacted people’s lives as technological fixes try to address energy
consumption in our daily lives and today, inventions such as hybrid or electric
cars, and even planes are now designed to be more fuel efficient. Some modified
planes are also able to fly on a mix of biofuels and oils. Recently, NASA has
also been looking into making lighter and more energy efficient plants, researching
intensively into biofuels to design plants that specifically give out more oil.
Boeing another company that has also been reported to be investing in research
of climate friendly planes. Use of such appliances allow room for a lifestyle
change as it opens up numerous possible options for consumers to make the
switch towards greener vehicles and clean energy. For consumers, this is a
win-win solution as appliances that come with green labels to signify energy
efficiency are also cheaper. In terms of pragmatism, the use of energy
efficient appliances are highly encouraged.


Not just the advancements
in technology, science itself has also made commendable progress as scientists
are constantly finding new ways to address environmental problems, some proving
to yield results. Science has certainly led to the creation of alternative
energy sources thus countries are now investing huge sums to explore clean
energy. The level of investments in environmental conservation has reached a
point where there is some form of competition between countries and in 2009, China
overtook US in becoming the leading investor in renewable energy technologies. Globally,
investments have more than doubled in the last 5 years. Countries are jockeying
for leadership, knowing that investing in clean energy can renew manufacturing
bases and create export opportunities, jobs and businesses. Such progress is
extremely relieving and reduces a lot of burden on the environment as
alternative energy sources cuts our reliance on fossil fuels which is the
largest culprit of carbon emissions

Argument: Innovative
advancements are able to target specific problems but it is not the be-all and
end-all solution.

With every
solution, there are always limitations. Science and technology provides
solutions to environmental problems but they have not been fully effective as
these solutions have also generated other problems and thus are not always
foolproof. In 2011 China’s Three Gorges Dam – the largest hydropower plant, was
reported to be having urgent problems. Warnings were given out, alerting the
Chinese of certain environmental, construction and migration disasters and  the worst drought to hit southern China in 50
years. Because of the occurrence of disasters, there have been serious
repercussions as people’s livelihood were threatened. Drought have occurred in
some due to water being diverted to the dam, continuous digging and
construction has led to landslides and water pollution, affecting water quality
downstream. In the end, the effectiveness and impacts of scientific solutions lie
in the hands of those who are making use of it and the actions taken to put
these plans in place. Just like the invention of biofuels, production of
ethanol was supposed to be a cleaner process but it has not been completely
successful due to other attendant problems. Land needs to be cleared to plant
new crops, leading to extensive soil erosion and deforestation.


Science and technology only solve symptoms and surface problems. They merely
provide a “technical fix” but do not fully address the root problems which is
unrestrained growth, addiction to convenience, consumerism and apathy.
Over-reliance on S to solve our woes is dangerous as it lulls us into
greater apathy and belief that we need not do anything. In truth, the solution
to environmental problem lies not so much in science itself but rather our
attitudes towards environmental conservation. Ultimately, lifestyle changes may
been even more effective than science itself. Conversely, the usage and success
of science has given as an excuse to transfer our individual responsibility in
environmental conservation. People assume a lot is already being done and take
it that they do not have to change. Addressing other causes are thus just as
important, the most important factor that we need to change are our mindsets.
Governments must have an innate political will to create change and strictly
implement policies to encourage and promote use of products and clean energy
sources. Only when the government makes a clear stance, the people will start
to lower their resistance to changing their lifestyle habits, consume less.
This is especially important in countries that have yet to develop to be technologically
capable or have yet to gain the ability to invest in renewable energy sources. For
these countries, technological ventures are too expensive and risky at present
as it is not cost efficient in a situation where bread-and-butter issues are
still very real for people. This is why a change in mindset of the people can
be the most powerful tool.