Technology as a tool for helping planet Earth
By using technology, we as a society can proactively become smarter with how the human world works in conjunction with the natural world. But using these insights and new resources, we can hope to extend the life of our planet.
Mother Nature can influence technology
When it comes to technology to help the environment, it is often best to look a little closer to Mother Nature herself. One example in which technology has been able to copy nature is by looking at how plants produce their energy from the sun. By a clever process of photosynthesis, alongside the intake of CO2 and H2O the plant can absorb the sun’s rays via the chlorophyll found in their leaves. But what is the man-made version? Solar panels.
We have all heard of Solar Panels, but do we know what they are? Solar Panels are a collection of sheets made from layers of silicon. These silicon sheets are infused with phosphorous and boron to provide negative and positive charges which helps the convert sunlight into energy through a process called the photovoltaic affect. By using photovoltaic cells (or solar cells) which are a semiconductor, energy is created when the surface is exposed to sunlight.
Plastic can take up to a shocking 450 years to decompose and with over 400 million tonnes of plastic thrown away each year, this is a big problem. However, have you heard about plant-based plastic?
Plant-based plastic, or bio-plastic is made from left over agricultural products such as wheat or sugarcane and moulded into a mirror version of its plastic counterpart.
Plastic eating microbots
Plastic in the environment is a problem, especially in the ocean. But what if there was a way to ‘eat’ up all of the plastic? Scientist are currently looking into the possibility of using microbots to remove the plastic from extensive parts of the world.
Interestingly, there is already a microbe found in nature, the Ideonella sakaiensis that eats plastics (it can breakdown plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and convert it into energy). By looking into how we could replicate or expand this natural version of breaking down plastic, we could see a massive breakthrough in finding a solution to this form of pollution.
Imagine if that juicy burger you are tucking into didn’t result in the slaughter of an animal? Yet, you don’t have to compromise on eating something plant-based? You would still be eating real meat. As crazy as it sounds, scientists are currently looking at how by extracting a collection of animal cells, they can grow animal food products in a lab.
From infrastructure technologies to agricultural changes, technology is helping us to better understand the world we live in and ultimately ensure we have a world to live on for years to come.
Images courtesy of Unsplash