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Appropriate Technology

  • By: Thomas D. Eatmon
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Technological innovations have historically driven economic growth and development around the world. Many of these innovations, however, have also led to environmental degradation, natural resource depletion, and social conditions that promote increased economic output at the expense of human rights considerations. Appropriate technology refers to a class of technologies that are characterized as small-scale, affordable, environmentally friendly, locally controlled, and designed to reduce negative consequences associated with traditional technological innovation. Many of the ideas associated with appropriate technology have grown from E. F. Schumacher's seminal work, Small Is Beautiful, published in 1973. Then referred to as “intermediate technologies,” these development tools were designed to aid poor, rural communities that lacked access to the resources necessary for capital-intensive industrialized development.

Appropriate technologies are used in both industrialized ...

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