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School of Environment
Mairi Mac Donald

ENV222Feb 2TechnologyLecture format1 Defining technologyFrom Jan 19 lecture notesP 160 means whereby humans use nature for their own benefitMachinesmeans of using them organizationP 107 enablerunderpins growth of population and per capita consumptionNote that Ehrlich and Ehrlich give a broader definition of technology p 110 as including the social economic and political arrangements that determine what is consumed how and by who for purposes of the ENV222 course we are using the narrower definition above machine plus organization and addressing the other factors as institutions anthropocentrism and power We are defining enabler as machineenergyexpanded human impact on nature particularly as previously noted with the Industrial Revolution access to fossilfuel energyEhrlich and Ehrlich also present technology as choosertechnology has a strong influence on social activities eg motor vehicle and lowdensity urbansprawl land use digital communication technologies which facilitate information spread and thus influence governance Arab spring Syria today2 Technology as cause of environmental problems21 as enabler eg 18th c steam engine powering pumps to drain mines allowed expansion of coal mining which provided coal energy to power industrialized production resource consumption and produced all the environmental impacts attendant on burning coaleg 19th c internal combustion engine powered by diesel or gasoline combined with assemblyline factory system resulted in motor vehicles airplanes etc with all attendant environmental impactseg 19th c chemical industry development new synthetic toxic substanceseg 20th c nuclear energy attendant problems military and civilian electricity production problems22 as source of accidental riskreader pp 136138 risks of human error or machine failure in large centralized systems eg Chernobyl nuclear accident 1986 Walkerton 2000 drinking water pollution Japan Fukushima nuclear accident 201123 by promoting an anthropocentric view of naturethe machine in the garden organization of nature to meet human needs through conversion of wilderness to farm or factory technology reinforces anthropocentrism by increasing the humancontrolled nature we see1
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