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6GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet The Technological Fix

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1 6GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet The Technological Fix

2 What is this topic about?
This is a summative topic for all of the Contested Planet module A technological fix is an innovation that can be used to solve a problem facing humans. Tools, machines and systems allow us to control nature and improve quality of life. Removal of technology, however temporarily, can lead to crises. We have increasingly become dependant on new technology, but there are both positive and negative aspects to its use. An attitudinal fix may also be necessary , involving changes in peoples perception and personal actions about a problem . The geography of technology involves investigating why there inequality in access to technology on a global and local scale. Technology and development looks at how far technology determines development and resource use Lastly, you will evaluate the role of technology in the future management of the contested planet’s environment.

3 The geography of technology Technology and development
CONTENTS The geography of technology Technology and development 3 Technology, environment and the future Click on the information icon to jump to that section. Click on the home button to return to this contents page

4 The geography of technology:
Why do we need technology ? Is technology causing the planet’s problems? Can it help solve them? What else is needed? The 2003 publication ‘2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrophe’ by Colin Mason stated ‘we must act decisively, collectively and immediately’ about: Shortages of fossil fuels Global population growth -near 8 billion and rapidly increasing in some areas Persistent poverty billion will be living on less than $1 per day in 2011 Climate change- possible 1-2°c warming by 2030 Water shortages -by 2030, people may have access to 30% less water Rising food insecurity and possibly famine Land degradation and persistent pollution

5 planetary scale engineering, largely untested e.g. space mirrors
Types of technological fix This diagram categorises the types of technological fix, and introduces mini examples you will learn about either in this topic or the other 5 topics in Contested Planet Energy Security Appropriate technology appropriate to local level of skills, income, knowledge but may be higher tech e.g. wind up radio, laptops, mobiles for Grameen banks Micro technology e.g. ICT mobiles banking internet Nano & Bio technology e.g. Green Revolution methods + GM products Geo engineering planetary scale engineering, largely untested e.g. space mirrors High Tech Civil engineering e.g. Cities, dams, wind farms Water conflicts May be both community based ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ from governments Alternative technology to traditional methods e.g. biodiesel Biodiversity under threat Intermediate technology easily mastered by locals e.g. pumpkin tanks, jiko stoves NB Some technologies cross categories, hence overlaps shown on the diagram Bridging the Development Gap Low Tech Capital Intensive Labour Intensive Superpower geographies NB role of Leapfrogging technology where new technology is introduced without a legacy, e.g. mobile phones do not need pre existing landlines.

6 Technological lifecycles
All technology has a life cycle Life cycles have become shorter over time. The speed of technological change has increased. Decline begins when better technologies become mainstream. Technology can be fairly unchanging until a sudden discovery/breakthrough, such as antibiotics, the internet. Controlling nature has increased through history, reducing environmental risk such as water shortages, natural hazards, pollution control. As cost falls the product sales grow Until newer and better technology is introduced and affordable New technologies have a distinct life cycle Popular i ty Time Life cycles have become shorter over time and the speed of growth has increased The main factor underlying all of these technologies is access to wealth, but the next slide outlines the complex factors involved

7 Barriers: what factors control access to technology?
Explanation Examples Level of economic development MEDCs and TNCs invest more money into R&D, they protect their innovations intellectual property rights restricting access in LEDCs They have the money to invest in the infrastructure required to support the technology e.g. a wireless or hard-wired network for the internet GlaxoSmithKiine Retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDs. The G8, UN and WHO hoped for universal access by Brazil has started illegal, cheaper copies. Physical reasons Some technologies are only suited to certain physical locations HEP needs mountains, impermeable rocks and high water input, solar needs sun..... Political Some national governments limit access to technology to ordinary citizens in order to control the information that they send and receive China and control over Google N Korea and mobile phone bans Historical Historical development has a large influence on current wealth This includes political systems, early use of fossil fuels and industrial revolutions Western European Industrial revolution and colonial dominance over especially Africa and India. Japan’s post WW2 restructuring investment by USA Environmental or social Certain group shun certain technologies due to their potential negative social or environmental impacts Greenpeace , FoE- nuclear power & GM production Amish, Mennonites Religious Some religions do not believe in the use of certain forms of technology Catholics and artificial contraception Military The use of some weapons technology is controlled by international organisations to try to maintain global security Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty

8 Luddites and Technophobes
Attitudes to technology and environmental determinism Countries like Bangladesh and Haiti are examples of environmental determinism. The causes of their high risk may be split into 3 types, with the type of technology set against them: Attitudes to technology Techies Positively seek out and embrace developments – the early adopters of new technology Luddites and Technophobes People who are opposed to technological change for various reasons e.g. Mennonites of Belize Malnutrition Dominance of agricultural low wages farm technology to raise yields, better transport to distribute food….. Natural hazards- reduces life expectancy- warning systems, cyclone shelters, afforestation, slope stabilisation Poor health and low life expectancy especially from disease disease-water and sanitation problems low immunisation- vaccination, medical tech

9 The Digital Age: background to the patterns of access to technology
The Technological Gap: Generally ,access is best in more developed nations, especially N America, Eurasia and Australasia, and also much of S America. Worst access in sub Saharan Africa and other Least Developed Countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar. Countries with the best access to knowledge are best placed to gain wealth. Affluent countries invest more in education. The majority of R&D is in Western Europe, North America and Japan – which receive high incomes from royalties and license fees Electricity supply is a good indicator of interconnected power transmission, investment and often high technology. It is essential prerequisite for modern life styles, from household appliances, luxury goods to industrial processes. The digital access index combines data on telephone landlines, mobile phone subscriptions, cost of internet, adult literacy, school enrolment, internet band width, internet users & broadband subscribers. Hyperconnected places have a digital access index of over 75. They have the infrastructure to support digital information transfer and lower costs because of competition. NB the triad of economically wealthy areas dominated by the knowledge economy( E Asia, N America, EU) ICT is often said to be persuasive or penetrative because it needs less static infrastructure e.g. mobiles, satellites… Under connected areas have a lower access index: mainly less than 15 Examples: sub Saharan Africa, Kenya. These areas need support technologies: wireless networks, reliable power supply, internet service provider companies, sales distribution & repair network, useful websites & software in familiar language

10 Modern technology and the Contested Planet:
ICTs are an enabler of development: They can reduce social and economic inequalities Support local wealth creation Encourage entrepreneurs and innovations Improve efficiency in all aspects of life and commerce They ‘shrink’ distances and enable remote geographical locations become included in core global trends Low cost technology once networks are established Newer technologies, e.g. WiFi do not depend on installed infrastructures. Language technologies ensure that those without formal education are provided with access to knowledge and information using applications most suitable to their skill level. The most important technologies for helping achieve MDG goals are: Communications and networking technologies – e.g. Cable/wireless networks User devices –e.g. Mobile phones, handheld computers, smart cards, storage media, global positioning system receivers. Alternative energy sources –e.g. Portable solar chargers, wind-up and solar rechargeable batteries, fuel cells & wind generators. Language technologies –e.g. Text to speech, speech recognition, handwriting recognition, translation, , blogs Business applications – e.g. The UN Millennium Report stresses the importance of ICT and digital inclusion to developing countries as a fundamental element of human development, calling for universal access to information and communication services as agents of development – contributing to the achievement of all of the MDGs.

11 Measuring levels of technology
The 4 categories from high to low relate to investment opportunities . Hotspots show the most extreme digital divide Improvements show recent improvements in e-inclusiveness and very good opportunities for investment Extreme 0-2.5 Hotspots Digital Inclusion risk Index by Maplecroft foundation, World Economic Forum 2009 High Improvements Medium Low No data This Index shows the relative levels of access to information and communication technology for 183 countries. Data is from 2007 International Telecommunication Union where 10 core ICT indicators are used: access to computers, including internet, broadband access, mobiles and fixed lines. Mobiles are weighted since they are a key driver of access to ICT in developing countries

12 World Internet penetration rates by geographic regions 2009 %
Measuring the digital divide World Internet penetration rates by geographic regions 2009 % More than one fifth of the world’s population are now online, but the majority are in developed countries Fixed broadband uptake is slow in many developing regions. While almost all countries now have commercially deployed fixed broadband, the service remains relatively expensive in many developing countries and thus inaccessible to many potential users. 3G phones, the 3rd generation of mobiles will allow greater internet coverage CHINA'S INTERNET USE Total users in 2009 : 298 million Year-on-year increase: 41.9% Mobile net users: million Internet penetration: 22.6% NB strict government controls still

13 Technology and Development
SOCIAL GROWTH-health, education, knowledge, choices The international Commission on Growth and Development Growth in 2008 identified key factors for sustained economic growth Engagement with the global economy Specialising exports Transfer of key technologies In order to develop countries need to invest in innovation and education Technology is a key driver in promoting development, Some areas have ‘Initial advantage’ fuelled by technology Development is associated with infrastructure to maintain innovation: Universities, research, Government sponsorship, TNCs, advanced legal system-patent protection reliable water, energy, transport, health and communication systems NB the concept of technological leapfrogging Advances in communications Energy + Water systems Agriculture, Industry Knowledge, creativity, inventions Resources ECONOMIC GROWTH Resources + productivity Technological change

14 Costs and Benefits of technology: externalities and unforeseen consequences
Effects of the Genetic Modification Revolution- Positive externalities Fears for biodiversity such as cross pollination not proven to date. Food security not always improved especially in crop growing country Over reliance on TNCs Social polarisation over adoption or rejection Effects of the Genetic Modification Revolution- Negative externalities less fertilisers, pesticides needed More resistant to climate change More products and more food security Increased yields, products, exports The effects of a new technology are not always foreseen, as shown by the use of pesticides DDT, and synthetic compound CFCs. Cars are an iconic example of a technology globally widely adopted and treasured but which has become a major contributor to negative changes in our environment through emissions. The ecological footprint may be large for a resource to be harvested and used. The controversy over genetic modification of organisms shows very different views by the players involved

15 Key Principles in pollution control
Precautionary Began Rio Earth Summit, linked with sustainable development . Where a threat appears to be present, even if not proven, action needs taking to protect the environment E.g. reaction against GM foods, 1987 Montreal Protocol on CFCs and Ozone depletion Maastrict Treat of EU Even Body Shop has it enshrined in their corporate plan. 2009 ban by EU of 22 commonly used chemicals in agriculture Polluter Pays Means the costs of cleaning up pollution should be borne by those causing it. Started by OECD 1972.reaffirmed at Rio Summit E.g. Emissions Taxing in UK and at international scale: 1997 Kyoto Protocol 2009 Copenhagen summit on technology transfer Proximity Principle Pollution should be tackled as near to the source as possible, contained, not allowed to spread This would apply to e.g. river pollution or exporting of toxic waste to poorer less restricted countries- effectively global shift of ecological footprints! Prevention Try to stop at source rather than adapt after created E.g. Urban Smokeless zones, energy efficiency The UK Environment Agency’s guidelines Most effective at long term scale?

16 3. Technology, the environment and the future
You need to know about: The costs and benefits of intermediate / appropriate technology compared with hi tech megaprojects: environmental impacts and social equity The role technology might play in global issues such as global warming and land degradation and whether the fix is feasible or desirable The chances of technology contributing to a more environmentally sustainable future Ideas about the technological future – will it be: a divergent world with a ‘technologically fixed’ core and peripheral ‘technology impoverished’ periphery or a convergent world with ‘technology for all’ Optimist -Ester Boserup 1965 theory that it is possible to overcome environmental limits through culture and technology Necessity is the mother of invention, and technological fixes can solve problems as they arise Evidence? Green and gene Revolutions, technology to help population control such as the oral contraceptive. 1980s: USA Economist Julian Simon: people+ markets are stimulated by resource crises Pessimist – Malthus Original theory dates back to the 1798:Population grows at a geometric rate whist food production increase at arithmetic growth, The inevitable overlap called overpopulation will result in poverty, starvation and death. Adopted by many environmental groups and the think tank: the Club of Rome 1972 whose publication The Limits to Growth warned of resource depletion and environmental degradation. More recently the publication ‘2030 Spike’ suggested a global catastrophe by 2030 Points of view on population-resources relationship

17 Technology – the alternatives
High tech Megaprojects –large scale to develop a high-income, consumer economy, used to industrialise & attract investment in a globalised world where flagship projects are used as a prestige factor. E.g. civil engineering projects: dams, airports, tunnels, motorways, power stations, world’s tallest buildings Often top down, government or TNC led. The World Bank is also a large player Individuals often have little say in development, and may have their rights abused e.g. by forced move. Large scale environmental externalities Appropriate Technology – Technology that suits the level of income, skill and needs of the local people. This may be intermediate or high tech, depending on location Intermediate Technology – relatively small scale usually low capital but labour-intensive technology that can be mastered by local people, especially in the developing world See slide 5 for more details, and the concept of technological leapfrogging

18 The Big Tech Fix! China and the Three Gorges Dam
Technological fix for energy supply, water control and bridging the development gap in China’s quest to become a world superpower Technology transfer; 6 groups of European, Brazilian and US TNCs involved in construction e.g. GE and Siemens, as well as Chinese companies Main player : state-backed Yangtze Three Gorges Dam Project Development Corporation. Estimated costs $37bn! The World Bank , traditionally a major player in megadam projects, pulled out of funding -concerns over negative impacts The world's largest hydropower complex project to date in Xilingxia gorge of Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze. The main project was completed in 2008 and by 2011 it aims: Supply 1/10th of Chinas present electricity demands- the hub of an integrated energy supply for central China‘ with 3 regional grids taking Three Gorges power, from the coast to the border of Tibet. Reduce disastrous floods downstream Improve navigability of the river to help trade within this ‘dragon economy’ An iconic example of the Contested Planet because of the viewpoints of the different players involved and their differing views on the externalities produced Sponsorship by businesses in USA and many EU countries including UK Environmentalists concerned over ecological effects : disrupting silt and nutrient balances up and downstream important for ecosystems and farmers. Japan Ministry of International Trade and Industry supported project to reduce acid rain pollution from coal fired power stations falling on them! Human rights groups concerns over forced relocation of 1.27m people

19 Technological and attitudinal fixes: some overarching issues
Geoengineering is planetary scale engineering, the ultimate tech fix e.g.: sulphur aerosols space mirrors ocean fertilisation synthetic trees Many environmentalists argue against it because it allows pollution to continue- then applies a fix to clean it up Preferred: more attitudinal changes and less contentious technologies: solar, wind, geothermal, microgeneration (house scale) In future? A hypothetical Tech Fix : Terraforming- moving to a new planet! What is the Problem? What Technology has been used/planned? Role of Attitudinal Fixes? Pollution, Climate change and enhanced global warming 1. At source and production of pollutant : Geo-engineering to reduce incoming solar radiation Energy efficient technologies New/expanded existing low carbon energy supplies- nuclear solar, HEP… carbon capture storage(unproven so far at a large scale) 2. Reduce at user point : catalytic converter 3. Reduce at sink: carbon sequestration (forests, in rocks) Life style changes- the 5 Rs: Resource reduction reuse recycling Reducing Respect Carrot and stick policies by governments- voluntary and forced changes e.g.: education and tax incentives to reduce personal footprints Biodiversity under threat Sustainable logging by heavy equipment and heli-logging GIS and satellite surveillance to monitor/help protect ecosystems Ethical and environmental purchasing from sustainable sources e.g. Forest Stewardship Council certified products

20 Technological and attitudinal fixes for energy, water and development
Problem Technology Attitudinal Fix Energy security Oil shortages and Peak Oil fears New sources of oil and new pipelines New types e.g. tar sands, shales. Replace and supplement oil by gas A ‘hydrogen economy’ or similar alternative energy future for example based on nuclear power. Switch to renewables, e.g. biofuels, solar. Increased shared transport- public transport Energy efficient transport Use of low carbon transport Water Conflicts: supply and quality High tech Megafixes: dams, desalination plants, pipelines, canals, tankers Lower tech or more appropriate technology: Taankas, microdams, composting toilets Reduction in water use Grey water recycling Bridging the Development Gap by tackling poverty and health: coping with HIV/AIDs Pharmaceutical research to find a vaccine or curative medicine. The use of condoms, dams, antiretroviral drugs, semen washing, clean needles…. patents sharing/agreements to reduce drug costs Public health education to prevent the spread of the disease e.g. needles, safe sex, abstinence, pre-natal testing Women empowerment

21 Technology for all or some? The Future?
Minimal negative externalities? Cheap, accessible? Is it pro-poor? Equality Does it benefit everyone? Low income groups need easily maintainable technology Efficient use of resources? Futurity Will it last? Carbon neutral? Minimum waste, pollution? Environment Is it eco-friendly? Are people involved? Public Participation Is it bottom-up? Scenario Divergence Convergence Business as usual: the current model Are we too addicted to technology? Use of similar technology Evidence? 2007 IMF :the world has become increasingly unequal since 1980 Technology contributed to this by increasing inequality and technological divergence. It is not meeting main challenges to date :fossil fuel dominance, global pollution, poverty, environmental degradation all at a global scale Global use of internal combustion engine Recent changes in patent laws New Green revolution in Africa using appropriate technology transfers Use of biofuels Sustainability? Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.... A complex concept, difficult to assess, and hotly contested when types of technology are concerned

22 A summary of The Technological Fix within the Unit 3 topics
Energy security Water conflicts Biodiversity under threat Technology efficiency Energy pathways Oil frontiers to counteract Peak oil – Alternative technology : a new atomic age? Renewables technology The 5 Energy Rs ( refuse, reduce, research, recycle, replace) Role of technology in the Sustainability quadrant, and its role in ‘Business as usual’ and Technological convergence Technology transfer Megaproject Water availability gap Economic water scarcity Abstraction technology Externalities created by large hard engineering projects e.g. transfers , dams, desalinisation plants Water conservation: low tech and high tech grey water, water harvesting, appropriate technology , restoration projects. Threats on biodiversity and hotspots: destruction and degradation. Sustainable yield concept Eco reserve management: use of technology e.g. satellite monitoring , GIS 4-wheeled drives, guns. Seed banks, gene banks, zoos all involve a technological fix. Superpower geographies Bridging the development gap The Technological Fix Mechanisms of getting and maintaining power Rise of BRICs and TNCs Military might- hard power mechanisms e.g. surveillance ,nuclear deterrent. Economic trade and aid-trade ,communications technologies e.g. outsourcing and FDI Culture and ideology transfers and influence- media technology Technological gap and Digital Divide between switched on and off areas Intermediate or appropriate technology Megacity growth facilitated by high rise buildings, transport, communications 2009 global depression fuelled by interconnected world Technocentric world Lifecycle changes Digital technology Environmental determinism Technological leapfrogging e.g. mobile phones Patents and Intellectual property rights Micro, Nano, + Bio technology Convergent and divergent scenarios Attitudinal Fix to all? Business as usual? Radical future? Sustainable development?

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