An Unhealthy Cycle: How Technology is Contributing to Feedback Loops and What We Can Do to Stop It


Our life here on earth is reaching a critical moment to either save it or slowly derive the very energy out of it. The worse part of it all is that we, as a species, are the main reason why it will inevitably fall apart.

As human beings, we have mainly relied on tools to keep us alive. We’ve created tools out of stones and sticks a million years ago, and we became better hunters for it. Now, we’ve created various wondrous to put our lives at ease. However, these technologies are probably the main reasons our world is dying today.

What is a Feedback Loop

The more we rely on technology, the more power we need to fuel it, and the more energy we need, the more fossil fuels we consume. This then creates an unhealthy cycle for our world, which is aptly named a feedback loop.

A feedback loop is a closed system in where each factor inside the loop relies on one another. Many feedback loops contribute to climate change today, and one of them is the example we’ve mentioned above. Another example is how the warmer weather from climate change is contributing to this unhealthy cycle.

As we all know, warmer air is currently leading many oceans and seas to evaporate, including polar ice caps. However, we don’t know that all the water vapor that has evaporated also contributes to trapping more heat in the atmosphere, gradually accelerating the global warming process. This is a dire example of a climate feedback loop and one that is hard to control because it is a natural process. But let’s go back to our first example and technology.

Technology plays a bigger role in climate change than we actually think, especially when we consider the feedback loop it is creating on every city on earth. A prime example is Hong Kong.

The Struggle for Colder Air

There is no doubt that the world is becoming way hotter than it was many years ago. We are struggling to be comfortable with this dire change, but by doing so, we are digging our very own graves. This is the problem that metropolitan cities like Hong Kong have been struggling with for many years.

Hong Kong is a city in the southeast Asian Region known for its punishing humid climate, and because of this, its denizens have been struggling for many years to keep the air cool. They used air conditioners for this problem, and ever since its availability during the early 90s, sales for air conditioning have skyrocketed. But this contributes more to the problem than it’s actually fixing it.

Air conditioners emit heat, and tons of it, as it tries to cool a room. This heat is then dispersed into the outside world, making the air around the city much hotter. This leads to a growing need for more air conditioners. Unfortunately, the electricity needed to power these air conditioners is also no joke, contributing over 30% of the city’s overall energy use. This is the unhealthy feedback loop that Hong Kong struggles with every day, and experts found that this is relatively common for every metropolitan city in the world.

So how do we exactly deal with this unhealthy feedback loop?

Renewable Energy

If we want to deal with this growing feedback loop, we should take off one of the factors contributing to it, and that is the consumption of fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels have been around much longer than human beings. We rely on it to power our homes, cities, and countries. However, its residue, carbon dioxide, is killing our world. Additionally, fossil fuels are limited, and we are dangerously running out of them. So how do we solve both of these problems? Through renewable energy.

Renewable energy is the energy of the future. It was expensive to attain it many years ago, but because of modern developments, it has become cheaper. Today, solar power is much cheaper than using fossil fuels to supply our electricity needs. By replacing this particular factor of the feedback loop, we can lessen its damage to the world.

Moreover, the very technology we are utilizing can also help us reduce climate change.

The Digital World

More companies in the world are becoming ever more digital, which is a good thing. The more we rely on digital processes for work and studies, the fewer papers we consume. The fewer papers we consume, the more trees we have, which can then help remove carbon dioxide in the air. This, in combination with renewable energy, should be enough to stop climate change altogether.

The world is planning to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 2050. We are slowly making our way there. By removing these feedback loops in our cities, we can inevitably stop climate change from destroying our very world.

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