Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Can we rely on science and technology to solve our environmental problems?

Btw, this is tmr's time trial question!HAHAHA:)

Yes- Science and technology can promote sustainability by inventing alternative energy
No- Alternative energy might produce another set of problems which leads to further environmental pollution.
Yes- Technology such as mass media allows higher publicity
No- To solve environment problem requires individual, national efforts to promote and execute

Mother Earth is sick and this is of no doubt. From former US Vice-President Al Gores documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth", we saw the truth behind our fast growing, developing World. The increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and the rising global temperature are all human-caused due to our multiplying consumption and production level which is at the expense of our environment. However, we did not grow with environment degradation ceteris paribus. With development our knowledge in science and technology escalate as well, and by relying on it, there is hope in solving our environmetal problems. Nevertheless, environmental problems requires much more efforts and initiatives to be solved.

We are able to rely on science and technology because from it we are able to invent alternative energy which is a solution for enviromental problems. Deforestation, globalwarming, air pollution are example of the problems our environmet faces and such ramification are largely human-caused. In the past due to focus on economic growth and living standard we have neglected the impact of our actions on Earth. Therefore only when people are economically stable and have a suitable living standard, we then realise the damage we have incurred on the environment. By using science and technology we can identifiy the causes of pollutions and rectify it using advanced technologies. Through science we are able to have a clearer picture of what damage are incurred and even statistical reports which brings wider acknowledgments from the public. After recognising the existing problems, we can then apply technology to investigate and invent neccessary tools to tackle against the problems. To reduce extraction of fossil fuels for energy which is one of the main environmental problem, inventors have use science and technology to introduce alternative energy such as solar energy and wind power which is deemed to be clean and renewable. Being the largest solar plants in the world, Solar Energy Generating System(SEGS) in Mojave Desert in America will be producing 553MW of solar thermal power when fully operational in 2011. With increasing operation of solar and other renewable energy plants around the World, our reliance of extraction of natural fossil fuels will decline over the years. Therefore, we will be able to mitigate the problems our environment is facing now.

However, science and technology might create further environment pollution in its effort to solve the problems. By considering alternative energy, we have assumed that such alternatives does not results in further problems. In fact, if solutions to the problems are not well planned and organised, the solutions can lead to further degradation of our environment. Nuclear power is a hot topic recently not only because it is a sustainable energy, but also the operation of producing nuclear power can lead to further damage. After production of power through nuclear reaction on uranium, the production will produce waste that emits radioactive substances that will affect human's health and causes cancer. Rated as the worse nuclear reactor accident, the Chernobyl disaster results in death and health problems of locals even until today. Although we can benefit from the derivation of nuclear power through science and technology, if the operation is not carried out in a organised and safe order, our environment could be at risk.

Nevertheless, organisations and policies are implented to ensure safety and sustainabilty is of concern. To ensure that countries with nuclear power plant protect the interest of the environment and the public's safety, the United Nations established the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) to ensure peaceful usage of nuclear energy and inhibit using it for military purpose.Around the world, individual countries have also nuclear energy policy to keep gaurd the operation of production and the nuclear fuel cycle. Such policies ensure proper disposal of the radioactive waste after the production of nuclear power. Hence, relying on science and technology can solve our environmetal problems since it is effective in reducing pollution and also risk of alternatives.

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