Turn on the TV, open the newspaper, scroll through social media or chat with a friend on an unseasonably hot day, and you’ll encounter the same topic: climate change. A product of human influence, climate change is currently accelerating nature loss – the extinction of species and reduction of biodiversity worldwide. Soon, it could be the most significant existential threat humans face.
It’s a complicated issue for people to come to terms with, but human action is necessary.
Previous technological revolutions, like the Industrial Revolution, are mostly to blame for the exploitation and disregard of the world’s natural resources. Until this point in history, the concerns of technology have been: how do we get the most out of the world, with the littlest effort? While partly responsible for the charmed life many leads today, the results have had a harmful effect on the environment.
Thankfully, the scope and aims of technological research and advancement have pivoted in recent times. Technological innovators haven’t just offered a mea culpa for the harm done to the planet – they have spearheaded a wholesale push to revolutionize the fight against climate change. After all: the only thing that can thwart human negligence is human innovation.
In this article, let’s look at a few ways technology is being used to help save the planet, from reducing carbon emissions to identifying local problems and promoting healthier ecosystems.
Using Blockchain Technology to Improve Traceability
Most are familiar with blockchain technology for its use in cryptocurrency, but the cryptographic hashes, timestamps, and transaction data contained in blocks have also found use elsewhere.
Namely, environmental organizations like the WWF are using blockchain technology to improve certification systems and traceability in the fishing industry. Illegal fishing contributes to biodiversity reduction and ocean habitat destruction, each of which can contribute to climate change. With the WWF’s Supply Chain Traceability Project, consumers can see the journey their food choices made, “from bait to plate.”
It’s a great example of how innovation doesn’t always entail creating systems from scratch – sometimes, the most innovative ideas take existing technology and create new applications.
Calculating Your Carbon Consumption with iOS Mobile Apps
You could guess how much your 2,000 square foot loft uses in energy. Every time you fill your gas tank, you could do some quick mental math to figure out your fossil fuel consumption. But it would be unreliable and nearly incalculable.
Enter mobile apps like Carbon. The app collects data on your daily habits with a friendly questionnaire. It then uses an algorithm of custom calculations and a pre-defined database to produce your very own carbon score. From there, you can make informed decisions about where and how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
The mobile app development agency behind Carbon clearly understood the need for education in an engaging platform that’s accessible, bright and intuitive. It’s a fantastic example of how technology can make environmental consciousness more accessible to a broad audience.
Accessing Information on Waste Removal
People want to do better. They want to take proactive steps toward reducing their impact on the environment by recycling and composting properly. But historically, messaging from local and municipal governments has either been hard to find or difficult to interpret.
Here’s where the democratization of technology has proven fruitful. Some governments have launched waste disposal apps, which provide clear, accessible answers on how to sort items and where to dispose of certain things.
With their smart UX designs and vibrant graphic designs, you might even say these apps make proper waste disposal sexy – a step in the right direction when fighting climate change.
Offering Microsoft’s “AI for Earth” Program to Environmental Organizations
Finally, there is Microsoft’s ambitious AI for Earth program. The program helps environmental organizations develop sustainable solutions for challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and water supply shortage by giving them access to AI and cloud tools.
In the past, environmental organizations faced a unique challenge: their work often requires the fast collection, and thorough analysis, of large, diverse data sets. But it was nearly impossible for small not-for-profits to acquire the workforce and technology to pull it off.
With AI and cloud tools, they can easily gather, process, and analyze swaths of essential data to track things like migration patterns, crop health, and air quality. It’s a great example of how technology can facilitate fast action while removing barriers to entry.
The world may be in a precarious position, but as the great Mr. Rogers once said, “look for the helpers.” From the biggest AI initiatives to the humblest mobile apps, these technological solutions are helping lead the charge against climate change.