By Kunal Sood
Extreme poverty, rapid deforestation, melting ice, and an impending novel coronavirus disaster are only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing world’s most pressing problems. While economists and environmentalists are busy understanding the impact of the world’s population; scientists and engineers across the world are busy finding out ways to reduce carbon footprints and the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.
Technological advances have helped several industries recover from recession, reduce disguised unemployment, improve quality of life and what not. If applied in the fight against climatic change, technology can help us help our future generations by:
Artificial Intelligence: AI is having an impact on agricultural practices and will soon transform how farming is done in industrialized nations, reducing our reliance on pesticides and drastically lowering water consumption. AI will make autonomous vehicles more navigate more efficiently, lowering air pollution. AI is being deployed by material scientists to develop biodegradable replacements to plastics and develop strategies to clean our oceans, which receive some eight million metric tons of plastics annually.
Eliminating waste: Today, innovation is helping eliminate food wastage, attempting to keep it out of landfills by monitoring it at all levels, from the farmland to the table. With up to 33% of the world’s food resources depleting, data analysis can significantly diminish to help reduce that figure. Data collection and analysis can assist this noble cause by connecting with supermarkets and cafés to guide surplus food items to individuals who need them the most. Advancements in biofuel digesters are putting food waste to use in producing energy. Inside our homes, smart refrigeration is helping families monitor their food wastage, including reminding them of expiry dates, some even offering ways to utilize food that is going to be expired.
Sensors: Distributed sensors as little as a dime are now observing air and water quality, distinguishing toxins, following fermentation, and catching constant information on things that are vital to our social and economic success. Wearable air quality sensors are on their way, and restricted sensor networks observing energy and water utilization in buildings help in eliminating waste. Further expansion of these sensors will drastically affect the way we live.
If we keep on producing unsustainable foods, expanding land structures and carry on with the way we do presently, our resources will breakdown. Unsustainable farming, fisheries, land projects, mining and energy are prompting remarkable biodiversity misfortune and living space debasement, misuse, contamination and environmental change. From food and water shortage to the nature of the air we inhale, the proof has never been clearer. We are, in many ways, neglecting to make the connection with nature.
There are many different approaches to lead a sustainable lifestyle and simultaneously protect nature with technology. Most of these applications are broadly utilized and have achieved critical results in the past. However, this impact could be deeper and more profitable if more people are aware of its utility, power, and impact.
(The author is Founder, We The Planet. Views expressed are personal.)