The Theme of Conservation: The Link Between Old and New Green Technologies
Green technology revolves around 3 basic objectives: preservation of the environment, conservation of natural resources and mitigation of negative impacts of human involvement. In theory, all these three objectives must be equally observed when evaluating the importance and application of a certain piece of green technology.
However, while all these three objectives are equally important in concept, I believe that the value of overall conservation still holds a slightly greater importance than the other two. Why is that? That is because it is possible that the virtue of conservation is the direct transcendental link between old and new green technologies.
Old Green Tech: Conservation through Concentrated Efficiency
The primary reason why we erased out the value of environmental preservation as a candidate for the direct link is because many technologies of the past are not really designed to disturb entire ecosystems, nor are they made (in terms of resource harvesting and manufacture) to have any significant impact on nature at all. They are all inherently “green” by default, if we are to use our modern context of the term “eco-friendly”. The value of conservation on the other hand, brings us to the real green factor that makes old technologies linked to our own modern technology.
Think about it, aren’t the applications of basic and rudimentary technologies capable of producing the same “net” conservation factor as our green technologies today? Traditional wind and water mills for example, are capable of directly transferring mechanical energy with relative efficiency to mill grain. The energy in old green technologies was only used for one single purpose, and was not really transformed in another form so heat losses were comparatively minimal (only friction can be accounted for the system’s net energy loss). In other words, conservation was achieved through concentrated efficiency, in a way that makes the system use only what is really needed, and leaves out anything that could be deemed as fundamentally unnecessary.
New Green Tech: Conservation through Diffused Efficiency
Modern green technology’s principle of conservation, unlike the simplicity and frugality of the old, focuses instead on diffused efficiency. Today, efficiency is the universal grading criterion that determines any green technology’s economic “survivability”. And with today’s rather strict requirements for economic viability, researchers and scientists are usually forced to think up of alternative innovations without actually needing the technology itself to directly develop (which would take decades). This brought forth the culmination of the idea of diffused efficiency.
Achieving conservation through diffused efficiency can be done in many ways, depending on how scientists and researchers would develop a certain green technology’s functionality. For example, attempting to collect and harness more energy by the addition of a new energy absorbing/transforming material could be one method (e.g. silicon/carbon nanotube solar panels). Another possible method is by combining multiple principles to amplify the potential efficiency of any green technology application (e.g. photoelectrochemical cells).
The shift from concentrated to diffused efficiency can only come from one simple reason: we have more uses for energy now than before. However, regardless of this shift, and no matter what trend green technologies would take in the future in fact, the value of conservation would probably still remain as an important and constant element in green technology development.
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