Dr Mukesh Kwatra, Founder, SmilingTree

Dr Mukesh Kwatra is an environmentalist. He is an alumnus of Sri Ram College of Commerce and a PhD in Environmental Entrepreneurship from Ecole Superieure Robert de Sorbon, France. He is founder of the green initiative ‘SmilingTree’. He is also author of a book titled ‘Awakening- Sailing through the Pandemic, 2020’. His writings and work, like his thoughts, are spontaneous and honest.

 

Technology and humans have been intertwined for millennia. However, technology is a double-edged sword that is capable of doing and undoing the damage. If used recklessly, it can damage ecosystems. Various species try to survive in reduced natural habitat and in the process viruses from some species find new host, as perhaps Corona virus found humans as its host. The ongoing Pandemic is a grim reminder of the venturesome behavior of humans. Because of their insatiable desire and greed, they indiscriminately used technology to destroy nature. The industrial revolution harmed the environment alarmingly through pollution, depletion of natural resources, increased carbon footprint and later on piling up of massive e-waste.

Technology, on the other hand, if used prudently can have profound positive implications. For the development of our species and reducing pollution sustainable technology is needed. Polluting the earth, air, and water for more than a century, technology is now showing promise in environmental cleanup. Technological innovations are focused on reducing pollution, from cleaner manufacturing processes to flue gas scrubbers to catalytic converters, now figure prominently in mitigating some of the growing pains of an increasingly technological world.

It is often said that the solution is often hidden in the problem itself. Advancement in green technology can be the potential solution in restoring and recovering the earth and fundamentally change the way we live, work, relate to one another and to the external world. New technologies are helping us in protecting the environment and leading to a sustainable future. From the depth of the sea to the deeper areas in dense forests, technology can transmute the way we identify, track or use the resources provided by nature.

Renewable energy is one of the solutions:- Solar energy, Wind energy, Geothermal energy, Biomass energy from plants, Hydropower from flowing water, all are forms of renewable energy now widely being promoted. It can help in generating electricity from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished.

Sustainable alternatives are constantly being evolved by scientists: – Just last month Air France-KLM launched a flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It was produced from used cooking oil. Besides, no major modifications were required for the engine or the aircraft to use the biofuel.

Use of Robots to track sea and forest :- Drones, satellite kind of robots with aerial and bird’s eye view of land, are helpful in tracking poachers, monitoring endangered species, for wildlife protection and eventually helping in creating effective environmental related laws and regulations.

Sea creatures can now be tracked to protect endangered marine species, illegal fishing. Technology is being incorporated for underwater surveillance to study marine biodiversity, measure hydrographic data and perform search operations.

The use of digital space: – is massively helping in reducing the use of paper and which leads to reducing the cutting of the trees for paper. E-mail and the internet have brought a revolution. No papers for letters no logistics for transportation of letters, all information required can be stored on the web, no need for using paper or books. Virtual meetings through the digital platform not only save our time but also helps in avoiding the use of transport and subsequently reducing carbon footprint.

The rising concept of sharing economy: -, another aspect of technology, is helping to protect the environment. With companies promoting share ride and share space such as cab services, co-space, homestay, even OTT platforms, fewer people are buying cars to ride, spaces to stay during holidays, and in the process reducing the carbon footprint.

Smart homes and offices that are more environmentally friendly: – with technology such as motion activation lights which reduce the consumption of electricity when not in use. Today more people are using the building with natural light and a good ventilation system to reduce the burden of electricity consumption. Besides these smart buildings have a sustainable system of rainwater harvesting and water recycling.

Recently, many countries are trying to create biodegradable plastic. Plant-based plastic technology work just like plastics with the advantage that it biodegrades. With the help of homegrown technology IIT-Guwahati successfully developed biodegradable plastic, providing budding hope for a sustainable future.

The rise in development and popularity of electric cars, hybrid vehicles is also synergistically helping the environment. It would drastically reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and the emission of harmful gases as that is the major reason for pollution.

All this provides a lambency of hope, to build a sustainable environment and also gives people the capacity to pull more out of this world and still leave it better. According to Barbara Ward, ‘we have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do’.

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