How Does Technology Affect the Environment?

Technology negatively affects the environment by compromising human health and safety, endangering natural ecosystems and biodiversity, having a cumulative impact on global systems, and depleting natural resources. Technology positively affects the environment through the application of environmental science to solve problems caused by human environmental impact.

Risks to humans from environmental damage through technology include inhalation of dangerous chemicals in air pollution, contamination of water and food sources, and risk of infections and diseases through exposure to toxic wastes. Flora and fauna risk habitat loss or disruption and extinction of species through exposure to dangerous byproducts of technology. Greenhouse gases affect atmosphere and weather systems, causing global warming and chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the Earth’s ozone layer. Technology consumes resources which are not necessarily renewable, including living resources, such as forests and populations of fish, and inanimate resources, such as natural chemicals and minerals.

Although technology damages the environment in many ways, it also has the capability to limit or prevent the damage using such environmental technologies as recycling, the exploitation of renewable-energy sources such as solar power and wind power, the purification of polluted air and water, the treatment of sewage and factory wastes, and the development and production of devices that promote energy conservation.