What Is Green Technology

Murrye Bernard
Circuit board illustrating green technology

With all the buzz surrounding the state of the environment, you may be wondering exactly what is green technology? Also referred to as environmental technology or clean technology, the goal of this movement is to conserve the earth's resources, reduce negative impacts such as pollution and foster sustainable development.

What Is Green Technology: Strategies

Green technology is a relatively new field that has grown quickly as people have become aware of their detrimental effects on the environment, including global warming and the greenhouse effect. It is a wide-encompassing field and sometimes a politically controversial one. Green technology is one of the fastest growing employment sectors and is surely much more than a passing trend.The types of green technology range from very simple tasks that can be performed in your home to highly specialized systems.

Recycling

Rather than throwing all of your trash into a landfill, recycle objects made of glass, metal, paper, and plastic. These materials are reusable and by recycling them, you can help prevent the further depletion of the earth's resources. Contact your local government about recycling programs in your area.

Environmental Remediation

Another aspect of green technology involves removing contaminates from the soil, air and water. These processes range from chemical to biological. Industry is responsible for much of the contamination and the government has enforced strict regulations to curb it.

Renewable Energy Sources

The world can't rely on fossil fuels forever to power homes, automobiles and factories. Green technology includes the conversion of renewable resources, such the sun's light, wind and water to energy that we can use. Solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal wells are all examples of technological innovations that can replace the need for coal and oil.

Alternative Fuels

Aside from harnessing nature's energy, scientists are also looking into other alternatives to fuel, which include hydrocarbons, fuel cells, and the highly debated concept of clean coal. The clean coal concept is driven by the goal to lessen the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment from the burning of coal as an energy source. The desired effect is either no carbon dioxide emissions or to reduce the emissions to such a low amount that the impact becomes insignificant. Another alternative fuel goal is that someday, hopefully soon, automobiles will not need to run on gasoline.

Cradle to Cradle

This term refers to the recycling of manufactured products from renewable materials that can be reused again and again, rather than going from cradle to grave, used once and then disposed.

Sustainable Development and Building

Designers and building owners can take many steps to make a building "green". Some of these strategies include properly siting the building to take advantage of natural conditions including solar orientation, using recycled or environmentally friendly building materials and reducing suburban sprawl. Obviously, any type of construction is inherently detrimental to the environment, but with careful planning it is possible to reduce any negative impact.

Green nanotechnology

This quickly growing field of science operates on the scale of one billionth of a meter, or a nanometer. Materials are manipulated in ways that will transform the manufacturing industry. Green nanotechnology involves principles of both chemistry and engineering.

Green Technology Companies

Many companies around the world have committed to establishing green business and manufacturing practices. Some include:

  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Dell
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Intel
  • IBM
  • Nike
  • Starbucks
  • Cisco Systems
  • Wells Fargo
  • Sprint Nextel
  • Adobe Systems
  • Staples

Jobs in Green Technology

There are many jobs available in this growing field, especially for those who are passionate about conserving the environment. Career opportunities are opening in the following areas of expertise:

  • Chemists
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Geoscientist
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Plumbers, Electricians and Carpenters

Skepticism

Not everyone buys into the theory of global warming, or believes that human actions have such a significant impact on the environment. Even scientists share differing opinions. However, there is enough evidence to prove that the earth's resources are limited, so precautions must taken to preserve them for future generations.

Further Reading

Now that you have a good idea of what is green technology, learn more by checking out the following resources:

What Is Green Technology