Over the past few years, scores of technological advances have been made to help the environment. These innovations are seeking to reduce pollution, minimize the use of resources and more. Here are four key ways that technology is currently helping the environment.
We’re Using More Renewable Energy
Carbon dioxide is one of the most commonly recognized greenhouse gases, and it plays a major role in global warming. Many of the nonrenewable energy sources in use today, like coal, are carbon-based, so their use is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, new technological advances are boosting the use of clean, renewable energy. A leader in this field is solar power. In 2018, solar energy use increased by 10 percent and generated energy to power 12.7 million American homes. As technologies improve and solar power becomes more efficient, these numbers will only increase in the coming years.
We’re Using More Electric Cars
Technological advances in transportation are increasing the availability and efficiency of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles do not rely on combustion engines to operate, which virtually eliminates their emissions that would otherwise contribute to air pollution. And, if the electricity used to charge these vehicles is from renewable energy sources, there is even more environmental benefit. Additionally, electric vehicles require vastly fewer parts than their gas-consuming counterparts. Exhaust systems, radiators, and many other systems aren’t required in electric vehicles, minimizing the material used to produce one of these cars.
We’re Using Less Paper
Particularly in the last decade, the internet has provided an alternative to paper forms, receipts and correspondence, greatly reducing the amount of paper used nationwide. Many companies offer incentives for their clients to use online invoicing and payments, further amplifying the environmental benefit of paperless communication. This decreased use of paper has a wide range of benefits for the environment, including the preservation of forests for wildlife and reduced use of cargo ships and planes to transport the paper.
We’re Sharing More Often
Another benefit of the internet has been connecting people to share resources. Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Waze Carpool are encouraging drivers to leave their keys at home and catch a ride with someone else. These companies even offer discounts for those willing to share their ride with other users, increasing the environmental benefit. There are countless other examples of apps and websites created to help people share resources, including Airbnb, Book Mooch, and Olio.
It’s clear that technology can have a massive positive impact on the environment. This impact is sure to increase in the coming years as existing technologies improve and new ones are developed.