June 02 2015By Ed Anderton
- Environment & Sustainability
As the likes of CleanWeb and Fairphone demonstrate, we need to respond to the impact that technology itself has on our environment. Yet digital also provides a very powerful set of tools which are being used in a variety of ways to help us live more sustainable lives.
Freecycle has, for more than a decade now, enabled us to redistribute and reuse goods we had previously been sending to landfill. Millions of people across dozens of countries use the platform regularly, increasing the life-span of products upon whose manufacture we have spent a great deal of energy and natural resources.
The way we make is also being explored via digital - the likes of the 3D Hubs network, the Global Village Construction Set and Wikihouse are experimental to varying degrees, but all valuable R+D for the future of how and what we choose to build.
Image courtesy of Global Ecovillage Network
The power of mobile to put valuable information into the hands of farmers has also been used to great effect, with Digital Green and iCow being just two great examples from a incredibly wide and varied set of similar projects around the world. Farmigo, meanwhile, uses the web to help smaller scale farmers sell directly to consumers in the US, with the aim of diversifying the agricultural economy.
Image 'Self-Sufficiency for Poor Farmers' courtesy of Gates Foundation
Technology's ability to observe, record and analyse is being well employed in the pursuit of a better understanding of our planet. From the high-end Carnegie Airborne Observatory to the open, low cost Conservation Droves community, tech is being used to capture ever more detail which will allow us to better protect our environment. OCEARCH, Safecast, eBird, Wildleaks and many others all contribute to sharpening and expanding this picture.