Faded Glory: The Uncovered Sins of Technological Fixes

In Douthwaite’s mind, technological fixes can have great positive impacts on “…important social problem[s]” (Douthwaite, p.32) and allow for the relevant problem to be addressed technologically while more fundamental fixes are implemented. He understands that a technological fix is not a real solution, but that they can help us in the short term to address issues. One way the other two authors might critique Douthwaite’s views would be in telling him that he is not looking at the complete picture, i.e. he is mainly concerned with solving the aforementioned “important social problems.” He seems to disregard the natural state of environmental equilibrium, willing to upset that balance just for short term fixes for the problems that in all likelihood we created to begin with. In other words, he views technological fixes relative to how they can improve our lives, and not relative to what their true cost is in terms of potential damage to the environment.

Technological fixes to our issues often have negative effects to the environment due to them being sort of an outside element, a foreign intrusion into an ecosystem that has harmoniously developed over many thousands of years. Ecosystems are extremely complicated and interconnected entities, and an abrupt change, such as one brought by a technological fix can easily have unintended negative cascade effects across the entire ecosystem and sometimes across the entire world. These effects should not outright discourage us from utilizing technological fixes to solve our problems, but rather strenuously stresses the need to keep both eyes on the big picture and to be extremely cautious and wary of any unintended negative effects when implementing such as fix.

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