San Francisco is using technology to reduce its environmental footprint. What could other communities do by using modern technology to help the environment?
Technology impacts can be reduced in numerous ways via technology. For example, insulating your house is one way to get more warmth, for a given amount of fuel. Lining or covering canals to decrease water transport losses to leakage and evaporation can help conserve scarce water resources. Switching to ‘energy saving’ illuminators, pressure cookers and composters can reduce our domestic footprint. Green buildings that use less energy and more environmentally benign materials than conventional buildings in their construction and operation can reduce the ecological footprint of our built environment. Cars that consume little or no fossil fuels help reduce global warming, as do solar and other technologies. Long term development and wide spread application of technologies and practices that virtually eliminate waste by using a ‘waste is food’ principle could help reduce the human ecological footprint. Aerobic treatment of industrial waste streams, replacement of flue gas process equipment with modern technology can reduce the industrial footprint. Reprocessing oil refinery disposals into industrial fuels using modern technology reduces oil processing footprints. Solvent free reaction protocols, in situ reagent generation, wireless communication, nanosensing of pollutants, photocatalysis of solar applications can reduce our scientific footprint. The list is endless.
But technology alone can not cure every evil in our environment. Sensitization of human consciousness through national and international legislation is of utmost importance towards protection of global environment.