Much of the world has been and is still expecting technology to fix Earth’s environmental problems, instead of changing our ways of life. Will technology be able to do this for us, or does the answer rest in other ways?
Many countries have begun to bury their CO2 whether offshore or on land. Some are pumping it into empty oil and natural gas crevasses in liquid or gas form. The problem with this is that these gases can potentially escape back into the air overtime. Researchers in Iceland are experimenting with adding minerals to the CO2 mix so to solidify the greenhouse gases, that way they cannot escape, which seems to be a sure way to trap these emissions. Another researcher in Germany is testing a way to pump these emissions in liquid form into sandstone’s porous openings, which is normally filled with salt water that will be pumped out. This method would help with pressure problems to keep the CO2 in where other methods may not succeed.
Switching to electric or hybrid cars, using less water in general, turning off lights and appliances in general and through campaigns like Earth Hour are all ways people are continuing to try to reduce their environmental footprint.
Office spaces have a large potential to help out in this cause. Having preferential parking spots for new electric or hybrid cars, turning off building lights and computers at night that aren’t being used, printing less paper, using online fax services, and recycling paper that is printed.
Online fax service is a breakthrough in technology that can make a major difference in cutting down on the paper that’s used and very often thrown in the garbage instead of being recycled. No fax machines or ink/toner cartridges are needed with this service, which is a plus since they just end up in landfills. Having a fax to email service is great for those who travel often and are not always at the office to receive their faxes, since cloud computing is available so you can access them via your email or an online interface.
Caltech University in the US is working on a way to break down toxic materials by transforming them on the molecule level so they can safely be discarded. This technology, if successfully completed, will be able to safely dispose of nuclear and chemical materials easily which is a major hurdle we must overcome at some point.
More and more technologies are available or being researched to deal with our environmental problems. It’s going to take more than a few inventions to solve the environmental problems of the 21st century, but we have to start somewhere so doing everything small thing you can really adds up. Individuals and corporations need to decide to want to change and then use every tool they have to do so, in both physical effort and making use of high tech innovation.