The extensive use of technology distinguishes the activities of humans and their civilization from other living organisms. Technologies comprise the tools human use to transform their environment, from those that shape their social organization, like markets and financial instruments, to the products they produce and use, such as automobiles and computers. While technology has improved human living standards over time (some more than others), it is also implicated in the deterioration of ecosystems, including many of those on which human civilization is dependent. Whether by adding carbon into the atmosphere, damming a major river, or releasing industrial chemicals into the soil, the evolution of human technologies has the raised the potential for increasingly destructive human relationships to the environment. As the human–environment relationship evolves toward ...

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