What is the Technology Industry?
The Technology Industry is composed of manufacturers, designers, and distributors of all types of electric devices ranging from computers to scientific instruments.
Major Technology Company Examples:
Technology’s Environmental Impact
The technology industry currently accounts for 2-3% of global CO2 emissions. Additionally, in order for the tech industry to create various devices, it must mine for materials. This mining leads to deforestation, landscape degradation, water pollution, etc. The industry additionally contributes to 1% of total global electricity demand and generates 50 million tons of e-waste per year.
How Does Technology Affect Environmental Justice?
The technology industry plays a key role in environmental justice when it comes to the effects that it has on impacted and underrepresented communities. These communities are subject to environmental inequalities, such as pollution from facilities that are located near their communities. Additionally, these communities are subject to greater effects from environmental disasters due to a lack of the technology industry’s interest in infrastructure in these areas. These increasing environmental disasters are a result of worsened climate change that the industry itself contributes to. As technology continues to evolve and reimagine transportation and city planning, underrepresented communities continue to be left out of the conversation. This endless cycle leads to the worsening of environmental justice.
What are Solutions to the Negative Environmental Impacts of Technology?
If the technology industry takes initiative in reducing its environmental impacts, it would be able to reduce global emissions by 20% in the energy, mobility, and materials sectors by the year 2050. Some things that could make the technology industry more sustainable include:
- Moving towards a circular economy with devices that last, rather than creating devices that quickly turn obsolete, as buyers turn to the “newer” and “faster” models after short periods of time.
- Pushing for government regulation to fine companies that create built-in obsolescence for their products (successful in the French government).
- Regulate e-waste.
- Consumer awareness and self-regulation of technology use and waste.
- Data transparency with emissions.
Some tech industries that are trying to become more eco-friendly include:
What Can You Do to Support the Environment?
- Opt to buy products from eco-friendly companies as opposed to those with poor environmental practices.
- Push for government regulation of quick product obsolescence in the tech industry.
- Use items for their full lifespan to reduce contribution to e-waste. This can include buying and selling items second-hand as opposed to new ones.
- Opt for items that can be repaired as opposed to items that have a set lifespan.
- Properly recycle old tech.
- Find new creative ways to use old cell phones (security camera, VR headset, video game remote, etc).
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