TECHNO FIX: What is technology? (Technological & Attitudinal fixes)

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  • Created by: Max123
  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:58
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What is Technology?
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 e.g. geoengineering (e.g. space mirrors) could solve the problem of global
warming and the 3 gorges dam in China has helped to reduce water stress.
The developed world is extremely dependent on technology e.g. agricultural
technology produces virtually all our food and petroleum and nuclear technology
supplies our energy needs. The removal of technology can therefore lead to crisis
e.g. in 2007 ­ 2008 a global crisis was created when oil prices reached US$147 per
An attitiduinal fix is changing human behaviour to solve a problem/issue e.g.
"bottoms up" community development schemes in LDCs, water conservation
techniques and carbon offsetting.
Technofixes are rarely the "silver bullets" they are expected to be as they usually
have a whole series of negative externalities associated with them, for example the
3 gorges dam (pollution sink, species extinction, 1.2 million people displaced etc.)
Moreover, they legitimise business as usual, for example Carbon capture and storage
encourages a hydrocarbon economy. However, they are often a more immediate
solution to an issue, if albeit a short term one e.g. sea walls and eustatic sea level
Attitudinal fixes offer a more sustainable future and smaller ecofootprints but there
are huge obstacles to their success (e.g. getting people to accept green taxation).
In addition the protracted time scale involved in adapting the 5 "R"s is frustrating
without a real political lead. People are often hypocritical in adopting green
technologies ­ for example NIMBYISM and onshore wind.
Radical change is needed for people to reduce their consumption habits. In relation to
climate change, geoengineering (e.g. space mirrors and CCS) may be a necessary short
term `bridging technology' to "buy time" to make the attitudinal change (e.g. Kyoto mark 2)
to reduce emissions.


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