Presentation on theme: "6GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet The Technological Fix"— Presentation transcript:
16GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet The Technological Fix
2What is this topic about? This is a summative topic for all of the Contested Planet moduleA 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 useLastly, you will evaluate the role of technology in the future management of the contested planet’s environment.
3The geography of technology Technology and development CONTENTSThe geography of technologyTechnology and development3 Technology, environment and the futureClick on the information icon to jump to that section.Click on the home button to return to this contents page
4The 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 fuelsGlobal population growth -near 8 billion and rapidly increasing in some areasPersistent poverty billion will be living on less than $1 per day in 2011Climate change- possible 1-2°c warming by 2030Water shortages -by 2030, people may have access to 30% less waterRising food insecurity and possibly famineLand degradation and persistent pollution
5planetary scale engineering, largely untested e.g. space mirrors Types of technological fixThis 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 PlanetEnergy SecurityAppropriate technology appropriate to local level of skills, income, knowledge but may be higher tech e.g. wind up radio, laptops, mobiles for Grameen banksMicro technology e.g. ICT mobiles banking internetNano & Bio technology e.g. Green Revolution methods + GM productsGeo engineeringplanetary scale engineering, largely untested e.g. space mirrorsHigh TechCivil engineering e.g. Cities, dams, wind farmsWater conflictsMay be both community based ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ from governmentsAlternative technology to traditional methods e.g. biodieselBiodiversity under threatIntermediate technology easily mastered by locals e.g. pumpkin tanks, jiko stovesNB Some technologies cross categories, hence overlaps shown on the diagramBridging the Development GapLow TechCapital IntensiveLabour IntensiveSuperpower geographiesNB role of Leapfrogging technology where new technology is introduced without a legacy, e.g. mobile phones do not need pre existing landlines.
6Technological lifecycles All technology has a life cycleLife 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 growUntil newer and better technology is introduced and affordableNew technologies have a distinct life cyclePopularityTimeLife cycles have become shorter over time and the speed of growth has increasedThe main factor underlying all of these technologies is access to wealth, but the next slide outlines the complex factors involved
7Barriers: what factors control access to technology? ExplanationExamplesLevel of economic developmentMEDCs and TNCs invest more money into R&D, they protect their innovations intellectual property rights restricting access in LEDCsThey have the money to invest in the infrastructure required to support the technology e.g. a wireless or hard-wired network for the internetGlaxoSmithKiine Retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDs. The G8, UN and WHO hoped for universal access by Brazil has started illegal, cheaper copies.PhysicalreasonsSome technologies are only suited to certain physical locationsHEP needs mountains, impermeable rocks and high water input, solar needs sun.....PoliticalSome national governments limit access to technology to ordinary citizens in order to control the information that they send and receiveChina and control over GoogleN Korea and mobile phone bansHistoricalHistorical development has a large influence on current wealthThis includes political systems, early use of fossil fuels and industrial revolutionsWestern European Industrial revolution and colonial dominance over especially Africa and India.Japan’s post WW2 restructuring investment by USAEnvironmentalor socialCertain group shun certain technologies due to their potential negative social or environmental impactsGreenpeace , FoE- nuclear power & GM productionAmish, MennonitesReligiousSome religions do not believe in the use of certain forms of technologyCatholics and artificial contraceptionMilitaryThe use of some weapons technology is controlled by international organisations to try to maintain global securityNuclear Non Proliferation Treaty
8Luddites and Technophobes Attitudes to technology andenvironmental determinismCountries 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 technologyTechiesPositively seek out and embrace developments – the early adopters of new technologyLuddites and TechnophobesPeople who are opposed to technological change for various reasons e.g. Mennonites of BelizeMalnutritionDominance of agricultural low wagesfarm technology to raise yields,better transport to distribute food…..Natural hazards- reduces life expectancy-warning systems,cyclone shelters, afforestation,slope stabilisationPoor health and low life expectancy especially from diseasedisease-water and sanitation problemslow immunisation- vaccination, medical tech
9The 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 feesElectricity 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 15Examples: 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
10Modern technology and the Contested Planet: ICTs are an enabler of development:They can reduce social and economic inequalitiesSupport local wealth creationEncourage entrepreneurs and innovationsImprove efficiency in all aspects of life and commerceThey ‘shrink’ distances and enable remote geographical locations become included in core global trendsLow cost technology once networks are establishedNewer 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 networksUser 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, , blogsBusiness 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.
11Measuring levels of technology The 4 categories from high to low relate to investment opportunities .Hotspots show the most extreme digital divideImprovements show recent improvements in e-inclusiveness and very good opportunities for investmentExtreme 0-2.5HotspotsDigital Inclusion risk Index by Maplecroft foundation, World Economic Forum 2009HighImprovementsMediumLowNo dataThis 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
12World Internet penetration rates by geographic regions 2009 % Measuring the digital divideWorld 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 countriesFixed 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 coverageCHINA'S INTERNET USETotal users in 2009 : 298 millionYear-on-year increase: 41.9%Mobile net users: millionInternet penetration: 22.6%NB strict government controls still
13Technology and Development SOCIAL GROWTH-health, education, knowledge, choicesThe international Commission on Growth and Development Growth in 2008 identified key factors for sustained economic growthEngagement with the global economySpecialising exportsTransfer of key technologiesIn order to develop countries need to invest in innovation and educationTechnology is a key driver in promoting development,Some areas have ‘Initial advantage’ fuelled by technologyDevelopment is associated with infrastructure to maintain innovation:Universities, research, Government sponsorship, TNCs, advanced legal system-patent protectionreliable water, energy, transport, health and communication systemsNB the concept of technological leapfroggingAdvances in communicationsEnergy + Water systemsAgriculture, IndustryKnowledge, creativity,inventionsResourcesECONOMIC GROWTHResources + productivityTechnological change
14Costs and Benefits of technology: externalities and unforeseen consequences Effects of the Genetic Modification Revolution- Positive externalitiesFears for biodiversity such as cross pollination not proven to date.Food security not always improved especially in crop growing countryOver reliance on TNCsSocial polarisation over adoption or rejectionEffects of the Genetic Modification Revolution- Negative externalitiesless fertilisers, pesticides neededMore resistant to climate changeMore products and more food securityIncreased yields, products, exportsThe 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
15Key Principles in pollution control PrecautionaryBegan Rio Earth Summit,linked with sustainable development .Where a threat appears to be present, even if not proven, action needs taking to protect the environmentE.g. reaction against GM foods, 1987 Montreal Protocol on CFCs and Ozone depletionMaastrict Treat of EUEven Body Shop has it enshrined in their corporate plan.2009 ban by EU of 22 commonly used chemicals in agriculturePolluter PaysMeans the costs of cleaning up pollution should be borne by those causing it. Started by OECD 1972.reaffirmed at Rio SummitE.g.Emissions Taxing in UK and at international scale: 1997 Kyoto Protocol2009 Copenhagen summit on technology transferProximity PrinciplePollution should be tackled as near to the source as possible, contained, not allowed to spreadThis would apply toe.g. river pollutionor exporting of toxic waste to poorer less restricted countries- effectively global shift of ecological footprints!PreventionTry to stop at source rather than adapt after createdE.g. Urban Smokeless zones, energy efficiencyThe UK Environment Agency’s guidelinesMost effective at long term scale?
163. 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 equityThe role technology might play in global issues such as global warming and land degradation and whether the fix is feasible or desirableThe chances of technology contributing to a more environmentally sustainable futureIdeas about the technological future – will it be:a divergent world with a ‘technologically fixed’ core and peripheral ‘technology impoverished’ peripheryor a convergent world with ‘technology for all’Optimist -Ester Boserup1965 theory that it is possible to overcome environmental limits through culture and technologyNecessity is the mother of invention, and technological fixes can solve problems as they ariseEvidence?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 crisesPessimist – MalthusOriginal 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 2030Points of view on population-resources relationship
17Technology – 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 buildingsOften top down, government or TNC led. The World Bank is also a large playerIndividuals often have little say in development, and may have their rights abused e.g. by forced move.Large scale environmentalexternalitiesAppropriate Technology – Technology that suits the level of income, skill and needs of the local people.This may be intermediate or high tech, depending on locationIntermediate Technology – relatively small scale usually low capital but labour-intensive technology that can be mastered by local people, especially in the developing worldSee slide 5 for more details, and the concept of technological leapfrogging
18The 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 superpowerTechnology transfer; 6 groups of European, Brazilian and US TNCs involved in construction e.g. GE and Siemens, as well as Chinese companiesMain 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 impactsThe 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 downstreamImprove 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 producedSponsorship by businesses in USA and many EU countries including UKEnvironmentalists 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
19Technological and attitudinal fixes: some overarching issues Geoengineering is planetary scale engineering, the ultimate tech fix e.g.:sulphur aerosolsspace mirrorsocean fertilisationsynthetic treesMany environmentalists argue against it because it allows pollution to continue- then applies a fix to clean it upPreferred: 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 warming1. At source and production of pollutant :Geo-engineering to reduce incoming solar radiationEnergy efficient technologiesNew/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 converter3. Reduce at sink: carbon sequestration (forests, in rocks)Life style changes- the 5 Rs: Resource reduction reuse recycling Reducing RespectCarrot and stick policies by governments- voluntary and forced changes e.g.:education and tax incentives to reduce personal footprintsBiodiversity under threatSustainable logging by heavy equipment and heli-loggingGIS and satellite surveillance to monitor/help protect ecosystemsEthical and environmental purchasing from sustainable sources e.g. Forest Stewardship Council certified products
20Technological and attitudinal fixes for energy, water and development ProblemTechnologyAttitudinal FixEnergy securityOil shortages and Peak Oil fearsNew sources of oil and new pipelinesNew types e.g. tar sands, shales.Replace and supplement oil by gasA ‘hydrogen economy’ or similar alternative energy future for example based on nuclear power.Switch to renewables, e.g. biofuels, solar.Increased shared transport- public transportEnergy efficient transportUse of low carbon transportWater Conflicts:supply and qualityHigh tech Megafixes: dams, desalination plants, pipelines, canals, tankersLower tech or more appropriate technology: Taankas, microdams, composting toiletsReduction in water useGrey water recyclingBridging the Development Gap by tackling poverty and health: coping with HIV/AIDsPharmaceutical 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 costsPublic health education to prevent the spread of the disease e.g. needles, safe sex, abstinence, pre-natal testingWomen empowerment
21Technology 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 technologyEfficient 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?ScenarioDivergenceConvergenceBusiness as usual: the current modelAre we too addicted to technology?Use of similar technologyEvidence?2007 IMF :the world has become increasingly unequal since 1980Technology 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 scaleGlobal use of internal combustion engineRecent changes in patent lawsNew Green revolution in Africa using appropriate technology transfersUse of biofuelsSustainability? 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
22A summary of The Technological Fix within the Unit 3 topics Energy securityWater conflictsBiodiversity under threatTechnology efficiencyEnergy pathwaysOil frontiers to counteract Peak oil –Alternative technology : a new atomic age?Renewables technologyThe 5 Energy Rs ( refuse, reduce, research, recycle, replace)Role of technology in the Sustainability quadrant, and its role in ‘Business as usual’ and Technological convergenceTechnology transferMegaprojectWater availability gapEconomic water scarcityAbstraction technologyExternalities created by large hard engineering projects e.g. transfers , dams,desalinisation plantsWater conservation: low tech and high tech grey water, water harvesting, appropriate technology , restoration projects.Threats on biodiversity and hotspots: destruction and degradation.Sustainable yield conceptEco 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 geographiesBridging the development gapThe Technological FixMechanisms of getting and maintaining powerRise of BRICs and TNCsMilitary might- hard power mechanisms e.g. surveillance ,nuclear deterrent.Economic trade and aid-trade ,communications technologies e.g. outsourcing and FDICulture and ideology transfers and influence- media technologyTechnological gap and Digital Divide between switched on and off areasIntermediate or appropriate technologyMegacity growth facilitated by high rise buildings, transport, communications2009 global depression fuelled by interconnected worldTechnocentric worldLifecycle changesDigital technologyEnvironmental determinismTechnological leapfrogging e.g. mobile phonesPatents and Intellectual property rightsMicro, Nano, + Bio technologyConvergent and divergent scenariosAttitudinal Fix to all? Business as usual? Radical future? Sustainable development?