Technology and Environment is one of a series of publications designed to bring national attention to issues of the greatest importance in engineering and technology during the 25th year of the National Academy of Engineering.
A "paradox of technology" is that it can be both the source of environmental damage and our best hope for repairing such damage today and avoiding it in the future. Technology and Environment addresses this paradox and the blind spot it creates in our understanding of environmental crises. The book considers the proximate causes of environmental damage--machines, factories, cities, and so on--in a larger societal context, from which the will to devise and implement solutions must arise. It helps explain the depth and difficulty of such issues as global warming and hazardous wastes but also demonstrates the potential of technological innovation to have a constructive impact on the planet. With a range of data and examples, the authors cover such topics as the "industrial metabolism" of production and consumption, the environmental consequences of the information era, and design of environmentally compatible technologies.