Technology as a Global Environmental Solution: Opportunities, Challenges, and Considerations

Abstract: There is often a tension between global economic growth and the environmental problems that often come with such growth. In particular, some find it unfair that the global north in particular expects some countries of the global south to miss out on economic and industrial growth that the global north has had for decades. These considerations are further complicated when considering that many areas of the global south will fare worse in the face of climate change and other environmental problems – even though those environmental problems have often been disproportionately caused by the actions of the global north. In the face of tensions between growing global demands and environmental strains, technology is sometimes floated as a solution for an imagined “win-win” scenario. Such technologies are sometimes proposed as a means of allowing the global south to go forward with growth, while still answering the environmental challenges that come from industrialization and development. This chapter examines these issues through the lens of a synergy-tradeoff approach guided by Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Systems Resonance Theory.