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Appropriate Technology

  • By: A. Vernon Woodworth
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

Technology is the principal means by which a species alters its environment. Appropriate technology is a term intended to encompass those technologies that accomplish their ends with a minimum of “inappropriate” consequences. Such consequences could include environmental degradation, erosion of social fabric, exploitation, and excessively hierarchical organization of the workforce. Appropriate technology suggests a scale that is complementary to human activities in small decentralized groups, encouraging autonomy even at the expense of sacrificing maximum efficiency.

Technology is the defining aspect of human potential by which we extend our abilities and influence. The 20th century saw an exponential expansion in the realm of technology as we transitioned from the Industrial Revolution to the nuclear and digital ages. Central to this technological expansion has been a drive ...

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