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How technology can help save the planet

By Vanessa Cole on Apr 22, 2020 10:00:00 AM

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Technology does a lot for us, and now plays a key role in saving the Earth. Here are eight ways that tech is helping us reduce our footprint and be kinder to our planet.

1. Hosting Earth Day

Thanks to technology, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day celebration continued digitally amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Activists around the world are connected to inspire action through blogs, challenges and live videos with the help of IoT connectivity and technology. EarthDay.org even has an entire page to connect people with digital events around the world during Earth Week.

2. Visibility through supply chains

Technology is enforcing accountability across all industries. By using IoT to track chain movement and introduce transparency, suppliers are forced to follow ethical sourcing guidelines, proper working conditions, and respect the environment. Additionally, access to effective analytics helps to continuously improve processes throughout supply chains for more responsible results. Apps such as Ethical Barcode provide access to sourcing information on products to help you buy ethically and ensure that your support goes to companies that are helping the Earth.

3. Smart technology and cities 

Smart home technology isn’t just making our lives easier, but greener as well. From smart thermostats to smart lighting, energy is being conserved wherever it can be. With the help of IoT connectivity and machine to machine (M2M) communication, home owners can track their water and energy consumption to pinpoint where they should be making changes, and identify home issues such as leaking pipes immediately to eliminate loss of supplies or damage to homes. Smart cities do essentially the same thing, but on a much, much larger scale. They can use smart sensors in lights and waste management systems, or even monitor electromagnetic field levels and traffic congestion to eliminate wasteful or unsafe practices. Entire cities are forming grid systems to ensure efficient flow and control of energy so that they can become as eco-friendly as possible.

4. Reducing paper and physical products 

With the introduction of new technology, society is closer to becoming paperless each day. By eliminating the need for physical goods and paper products, we move away from the need for shipping, snail mail, and packaging. Common items such as SIM cards and CDs are becoming digitalized with streaming services and eSIM solutions to save time, energy, shipping and production. 

5. Electric vehicle innovation

Electric and hybrid vehicles dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, these vehicles are using a valuable energy source, but their value comes from reducing our need to burn fossil fuels. As cities produce new fleets of electric buses and cars, we are given the opportunity to make our Earth healthier. While current electric vehicles still require large amounts of electricity, this alternative has a much more promising future of clean energy than gas does.

6. Environmental monitoring

From wild fields to farmers fields, IoT and AI are helping to identify patterns and improve outcomes. Farmers can monitor crops and soil in order to maximize crop production with the lowest possible impact on the environment and their wallets. Farmers can use IoT to their crops in real time so that they can identify problems and irrigation patterns to ensure that they are using water supplies as efficiently as possible. Wildlife and forested areas are protected through the use of technology to preserve life through the identification and monitoring of poaching paths, migration, behavioural patterns, and more. By recognizing where our environment and its inhabitants require help, we can better prepare to sustain our planet.


7. Access to information

In the information age, everyone has access to learning how they can help the environment. Our ability to educate ourselves on what it means to live sustainably and how to do so allows us to become the best humans we can be. Movements such as Earth Day, ocean cleanups and more can be liked, shared or contributed to, allowing them to disseminate information across the globe to ensure that everyone is aware of how desperately the Earth needs our help. 

8. Carbon capturing

By using large fans to process atmospheric air and pull the carbon dioxide out, many scientists believe that we can not only prevent further harmful impact on the Earth, but undo the damage that we have already caused. This expensive technology is not widely embraced across the globe due to cost, but plants are springing up in some areas of the world. A company in British Columbia called Carbon Engineering claims that their single plant does the work of over 40 million trees by capturing over 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Technology has a wide array of applications and uses to benefit not only mankind, but our planet. As it continues to evolve and produce new opportunities, we embrace our new ability to enable a future. Humans and technology have been intertwined for many years, and can now work together to create a greener, healthier Earth.

 

Vanessa Cole

Written by Vanessa Cole

Vanessa is a recent graduate of the University of Guelph-Humber with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies and a Diploma in Media Business Communications. Her love for story-telling and technology come together to create insightful pieces about IoT and connectivity.

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