Green technology has gained prominence in the past two decades. As the planet’s natural resources are drying up, the use of green tech seems to be the only knight in shining armor that can save us. The term is used for all the environmentally friendly tech that doesn’t disturb or destroy the environment and natural resources.
Green tech is not limited to a selected number of technologies. Instead, it extends to include all the tech that is an innovative initiative that may or may not have seen the light of the day. As Laurence Blandford, international director for the Center for Clean Air Policy in Washington puts it, "A lot of the innovations that are going to happen are things we don't know about yet. They are in the minds of scientists and engineers. My message would be to look for those technologies that have the potential to be transformational in the future."
Such clean technology is armed with the aim of making up for the human damage done to the environment. The excess use of chemicals and over-exploitation of resources, among other reasons, have rendered to a crescendo of the greenhouse effect, disturbed ecosystems, and global warming. The environmental tech gears toward reducing them with its safe working methods.
Why is green tech necessary?
Our planet is steadily suffocating under the impact of pollution. The US population accounts for 5% of the global population. But this 5% uses 25% of the world’s resources. This usage can be broken down to roughly 25%, 26%, and 27% of the world’s coal, oil, and natural gas respectively.
Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that Americans produced 258 million tons of waste in 2014. Of this, more than half of the waste was collected in landfills, and only 34% was recycled. The same source, EPA, also reports that 64% lakes, 44% assessed stream miles, 20% of estuarine and bay areas are affected by pollution; hence, rendering them unsafe for fishes and swimming.
On a worldwide scale, water pollution kills 100,000 sea mammals and 1 million seabirds. An example of such a debacle is the Mississippi River that discharges 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen contaminants into the Gulf of Mexico annually. Such a scenario has created a “dead zone” in the gulf that is nearly the size of New Jersey.
As we speak, groundwater is also not safe. There are more than 20,000 uncontrolled hazardous waste sites on record in the US. Any leak from such abandoned sites can result in the contamination of groundwater. Air pollution also showcases such whooping figures. A study reveals that air pollution kills approximately 2.1 million individuals.
Global warming also has a share in the chart. As per the latest highlights, January 2018 exhibited a temperature 0.71°C (1.28°F) higher than 12.0°C (53.6°F), which is the 20th-century temperature average for the month. The present year’s opening month showed the 5th highest temperature for January in the time period of 1880–2018.
All these staggering statistics open a window that gives a peek into the environmental damage caused by mankind. All these phenomena birth the need for clean technology. It is only smart energy today that can secure our future. It can also ascertain that events like the Chernobyl nuclear accident (1986) and Gulf of Mexico spill (2010) don’t repeat themselves.
The importance of green tech
When need surfaces, significance becomes apparent, and this holds true in the present case as well. The necessity for clean tech is evident in the face of the age-old monster of pollution that feeds on the lives of over 9 million people yearly. Broadly, the importance of green tech lies in reducing the risks posed by environmental damage and conserving natural resources.
It will also ensure that clean and renewable sources of energy are used to prevent the complete exhaustion of the other non-renewable sources. The working of such tech is best comprehended with the support of examples. A case in point is solar roof tiles, a brainchild of the chief executive of Tesla, Elon Musk.
These are unlike the present solar technology available. In that, these glass tiles are almost identical to the typical roof tiles and come in various colors and shapes. According to the CEO, these tiles generate electricity, are economical in pricing, better insulated, and have a longer life.
Other examples of cleantech include indoor or vertical farming, bio-degradable capsules for coffins, and smart fabric. At the same time, clean energy initiatives like scoop.solar are also working and helping others work for a safer future. On a specific scale, the importance of green technology for the future rests on the following pointers:
- It will help slow global warming
The average global temperature has ballooned between 0.4 and 0.8 °C in the passage of the past 100 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate forecasts that the temperature crawl could range between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by 2100.
Such an increase in temperature pairs with increased greenhouse effects. Some of the negative consequences of this include smog pollution, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, and changes in the growth of plants. However, climate change can be slowed with the help of green tech as it taps into the potential innovative methods of energy production and reduces carbon use.
- Provides clean energy
Green technology attempts to provide alternative energy sources that do not deplete essential fossil fuels. It is also critical for curbing global warming by bringing down the emission of greenhouse gases like nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
To this end, some of the ways adopted by green tech include harnessing the potential of solar energy, fuel cells, wind energy, and geothermal energy. In addition to these alternative sources of energy, cleantech also presents solutions like battery technology, green building, and metallic foams.
- Facilitates the use of green technology
The use of technology across the globe is widespread and continues to evolve. Green tech, however, strings together technology with recyclable components. Such an effort assists in promoting a pollution-free environment that can sustain life.
For instance, green computers are in the pipeline. The current computer range is made of cadmium, lead, plastics, and brominated fire retardants that can all be categorized as hazardous for the environment. Green tech is working to produce computers that are composed of parts that are safe to dispose off. Similarly, hybrid cars are also a feat of cleantech.
- Makes properties more sustainable
Environmental tech is also playing a role in the construction industry by inserting sustainable features into the play. This feature added to the construction industry helps boost the value of the property alongside making it eco-friendly. Although the initial cost of green buildings is high, it reaps well in the long haul.
For example, the installation of geothermal systems can be costly, but it uses almost 50% less electricity relative to standard systems. At the same time, geothermal pumps cut down carbon dioxide emissions by 70%. It helps take down the electricity costs, while simultaneously safeguarding the planet by conserving natural resources.
In a nutshell, green tech is crucial for our future. The need and importance for such a clean technology arise from the ugly picture painted by the effects of pollution and climate change. Environmental tech provides alternative energy sources, facilitates with biodegradable products, encourages recycling, and promotes the development of sustainable buildings. It also significantly helps with curtailing pollution, decelerating global warming, and preserving natural resources.