Will the emerging postindustriat world with its heavy dependence on energy and complex technology and global traffic further despoil the environment?
The telespheral age will be friendly to the environment—certainly far friendlier than were the agrarian and industrial ages. Here are some of the reasons:
• In the new age we will move beyond polluting fossil fuels to new sources of energy: solar power—nuclear fusion (not fission)—geother-mal energy—hydrogen fuel—others. These sources of energy are clean—inexpensive and virtually inexhaustible.
• We are shifting from heavy industry (for example steel) to light industry (electronics).
• Many production units will float on the ocean and in earth orbit. They will not damage the countryside or the oceans and will not hog any space in or around our communities.
• Computerized telefarming and total-environment (microclimate) food growing will significantly reduce the need for pesticides and toxic chemicals.
9 New transportation systems such as hypersonic spaceplanes will use nonpolluting hydrogen fuel or laser power or microwave. Short-range vehicles such as helicopters—short-take-off-and-landing— hovercrafts—etc.—may be powered by solar energy.
• Ultraintelligent machines with the support of remote sensors— geophones—sniffers will continually monitor the environment—both local and global. We will have a clearer understanding of the cause and effect of pollutants in the atmosphere—the dynamics of the ozone level—and other unresolved issues such as whether the garbage we dump into the oceans every day pollutes our waters or is appreciatively consumed by marine life.
We are at the beginning of all this. The telespheral age will steadily unfold in the coming years.
It is encouraging that more and more people are growing aware of ecology and clamor for cleaner air and water—greater vigilance over the use of toxic chemicals in food—stricter supervision of nuclear power plants—intelligent planning for community growth—protection of coastal regions and so on.
Scientists from many disciplines and from all over the planet recently created a Global Ecology Research Agency for a long-range focus on "global habitability."
We need an enlightened approach to ecology. But our vigilance should not be subverted into a pretext to slow down growth. We need growth—a new kind of growth—beyond the feudal and the industrial.
Date: 2015-02-28; view: 371