Science, Technology and Society

Appropriate Technology

Appropriate Technology is used to solve technological problems throughout the world, by providing sustainable solutions which are beneficial to the local community, and which are sensitive to the need to reduce environmental pollution, by using renewable sources of energy and recycling materials wherever possible.

Sustainable solutions to technological problems are more likely to occur if  local  skills  are used, thereby using the knowledge and experience which already exists, and which can be passed on through the community, and from generation to generation. Use of  local resources also cuts down  overall costs.  The use of  renewable  energy sources is also encouraged. This can have significant  positive benefits for the local and global environments. The use of renewable sources of energy, with the exception of sustainable supplies of wood, reduces the emission of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions, which occur when oil and coal are burnt, increases the Greenhouse Effect .This  reduction of the emission of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides, by not using coal as the primary source of energy is also beneficial to both local and global environments.

The use of Appropriate Technology should be economically viable on a long-term basis for the community, and provide suitable employment opportunities. The solution should be of positive benefit to the community and individuals, bringing a number of distinct advantages, such as an improvement in health  and safety, education and training, regular employment and income for families. The solution should be consistent with the culture(s)  of the local community.The use of high technology to solve a problem often involves the use of expensive components, which usually need to be imported. This normally requires specialist training, requiring additional costs and time.The need for a supply of spare parts, often expensive, also decreases  the likelihood of a sustainable solution to the problem, by increasing the cost of the overall project.

In any one solution not all the benefits mentioned are possible, or occur with equal  weighting. Yet the involvement of the local community , use of local resources  and local skills is at the heart of  successful application  of Appropriate Technology.

Here are some relevant links to sites which can give you a greater insight into the meaning of Appropriate Technology, and they ways in which it is used successfully throughout the world, in a wide variety of projects and assignments.

 Appropriate Technology
 Appropriate Technology Institute Page
Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development
 Centre for Alternative Technology (UK)
Center for World Indigenous Studies
Communications for a Sustainable Future
 Global Technology Information
 Intermediate Technology Home Page
National Center for Appropriate Technology
Solar Energy Homepage

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