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When we think of technology in today's world, we often think of microprocessors, but the wheel is technology and so is a tractor and every other machine born of the Industrial Revolution. Because technology increases our capacity to produce products, it also increases our ability to consume. That means the explosion in technology has allowed an explosion in population that has had many negative effects.
Thomas Malthus was an economist who famously described the grim collision of population and food supply. Malthus reasoned that since population was growing and the number of acres on which to grow food wasn't increasing, disastrous would eventually occur. Agricultural technology has continued to increase the production of food per acre, however, and many have forgotten about the so-called Malthusian dilemma. Malthus' reasoning wasn't wrong, and it applies to limited resources in many areas. Technology allows us to exploit those resources more quickly.
The concern of global warming gave rise to the concept of a carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon one individual consumes directly and indirectly. It's not just the exhaust from your car, it's the carbon emissions used to make everything you consume. While awareness of carbon emissions and personal carbon footprints increases, we see technological efforts to reduce them, from hybrid cars to windmill power generators. The biggest increase in our carbon footprint, however, is having a child. Having enough children to increase the population creates a Malthusian dilemma in nearly every measurable resource.
As humans use technology to adapt our world to suit our needs, it usually changes the world for other inhabitants, both plant and animal. One of the biggest problems is physically displacing habitat by building structures where they used to be, or converting wild areas to agricultural or housing uses. The increase in technology that allows for growing population thus causes habitat destruction.
The Way We Think
Technology has affected they way we consume media. We used to consume information almost exclusively through spoken or written words. We then entered an era of radio and television. Some researchers believe that with each increase of the amount of information that we consume, our attention spans become shorter. While reading tends to improve creativity and critical thinking, technologies such as television and video don't foster those skills as well.
John Willis founded a publishing company in 1993, co-writing and publishing guidebooks in Portland, OR. His articles have appeared in national publications, including the "Wall Street Journal." With expertise in marketing, publishing, advertising and public relations, John has founded four writing-related ventures. He studied economics, art and writing at Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.