From Tree-Hugger to Tech-Lover
Some radical deep ecologists believe that in order for human beings to co-create an ecologically friendly society, we will have to dismantle civilization altogether. Such ideas seem misanthropic and they also connote that the only way we could live in harmony with nature is if we wave good-bye to cities, cell phones, cars, and even perhaps the more subtle forms of technology like voting and healthcare, without which we would surely not be the modern human beings that we are. In the atmosphere of the current global ecological crisis, ecology cannot afford to be misanthropic because the best of human thought and action is needed at this time. But ecology cannot also afford to be nostalgic—looking back at primitive society and glorifying the pre-civilized state. A forward-looking, pragmatic ecology would embrace technology, and support the creation of those technologies that can augment ecological potential rather than wreak havoc on the environment.
For example, there are several cutting-edge technologies that are helping to save and preserve endangered species. These include high-tech fishhooks that emit a voltage which protects cetaceans from fishing lines by urging them to swim away from the electrical field. There’s also better visualization technologies from Google Earth which map endangered habitats and encourage organizations to protect them. While observing wildlife in their natural habitat is invasive and tough to do, there are now remote control photo/video drones, which allow us to learn about the needs of endangered species without disturbing them.
Helpful technologies such as these can help us properly integrate our relations to, and uses of, technology in service of the planet. Maybe we can become the machine’s guardians, actualizing the excellences of technology and simultaneously rectifying the harmful aspects of the machine which we have extended upon the earth.
For more examples of visionary technologies that help protect the environment, check out this article on Treehugger.
Image "Our planet/nuestro planeta" by Asar_mz on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing