The advent of the fourth industrial revolution, powered by digital technologies and cyber systems, has brought with it ways in which people can mitigate the effects of the first industrial revolution, which arguably marked the beginning of the current global warming crisis. Technology can be a boon — after all, without it, there would be no online casino games — and a blight.
New sustainable technology is now being deployed to manage and reverse the impact of climate change, the depletion of the world’s natural resources and the pollution of the seas and waterways. A new movement that demands more accountability and transparency from businesses in their manufacturing processes and those of their suppliers through the entire supply chain is resulting in the quest for technological applications that can assist in the achievement of global sustainable development goals.
From the First to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The invention of the steam engine hailed the arrival of the first industrial revolution, which gathered momentum from the mid-18th through to the end of the 19th century. The steam engine permitted the mechanization of manufacturing processes, for example, spinning and weaving in the wool and textile industries, which led to the establishment of factories. Factory chimneys soon became the culprits in generating early greenhouse gas emissions as smoke and waste billowed out of them.
The second industrial revolution was marked by the invention of electricity, a game changer across the world, which in turn led to the 3rd industrial revolution, which was characterized by computerization and automation. The fourth industrial revolution is about all things digital and cyber.
So, what is sustainable development? It is broadly defined as economic development without the depletion of the planet’s natural resources. Humankind has been selfish for too long, utilizing natural materials for its own gain and advantage without thinking about the consequences for the planet for future generations. The selfish refusal to reverse the losses of the last centuries is pushing activists to demand more legislation to enforce sustainable practices by businesses and consumers alike.
The principal areas of concern of climate and environmental activists revolve around the destruction and pollution of the natural world, for example, the slash and burn policies of companies and governments of vast tracts of valuable rain forest, the dumping into the oceans of nuclear and other toxic waste and greenhouse gas emissions that are destroying the planet’s protective ozone layer. All these are gradually eroding the habitats of animals and plants, leading to the extinction of entire species.
Tech to the Rescue
Technology and sustainable development go hand-in-hand. The realization that human beings are gradually destroying not only animals but humanity’s own habitats has come with new ways of thinking and a greater application of technology to reverse the degradation of the planet and its atmosphere.
Technology has brought with it people’s ability to make drastic changes in workplaces and homes that contribute to the sustained development of planet Earth.
Cloud Storage and Paperless Processes
The cloud has eliminated the need for vast data storage centers that require enormous amounts of energy, not only to power computer mainframes but to maintain optimum temperatures around machinery.
Computers have drastically reduced the need for vast amounts of paper, which requires chopping down forests, as documents are generated and shared digitally. Books, newspapers and magazines have online versions and as a result, publishers have been able to reduce print runs and conserve paper and trees.
Safer, Greener Energy
Technology is being applied to create safer, greener energy. Solar power, wind and water-generated electricity are being harnessed by modern technology. Renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels, is now the power source of choice for many businesses. Not only do renewables generate cleaner energy with no emissions, but they also eliminate the need to dig coal and other fossil fuels out of the ground, which both depletes natural resources and causes destruction around mining sites.
Re-use, recycle, upcycle, re-purpose — all these are part of a program of waste management that individuals and businesses are adopting. Technology allows for the re-processing of many materials, avoiding the need to send waste products to landfills. One example is the recycling of car and bike tires. Rubber can take hundreds of years to biodegrade and so, utilizing modern processes and reconstituting old tires and inner tubes into new tires has reduced the disposal of millions of tons of rubber.
Technology as a Detector of Natural Disasters
Technology is also being used to monitor weather patterns and predict natural disasters. While technology can’t prevent a cyclone or an earthquake, it can alert people and early warnings can allow for measures to be put in place to reduce the risk to humans, livestock and crops.
Technology and the Reduction of the Carbon Footprint
The use of technology enables society to reduce the global carbon footprint. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the world that business meetings could just as effectively be conducted online, alleviating the need for travel. Online streaming has brought entertainment into the home and playing your favorite casino table games is now as easy as logging into your smartphone, tablet or computer.
The concept of entire cities driven by technology is not futuristic. A number of cities around the world are already employing the Internet of Things (IoT) to make their urban spaces more habitable, more efficient and more sustainable. Examples of technology and sustainability actions include the deployment of computers to monitor, analyze and manage traffic flows and parking capacity, manage crowd movements during large events and manage public utilities like bathrooms and public transport nodes.
While Singapore is leading the way in making a fully smart city a reality, here in the USA, Kansas City, Missouri, Columbus, Ohio and New York City are all pioneers in the use of the IoT to improve the quality of life of their inhabitants and meet sustainable economic development goals.
In China, ports and mining operations are managed remotely with driverless vehicles, cranes and other heavy machinery, which has reduced incidences of injury and sped up processes for maximum efficiency.
The make/use/dispose consumer model is no longer applicable. With environment, social and governance (ESG) goals now part of ethical business, striving for a carbon-neutral, zero-waste operation is built into many companies’ strategies. They’re only able to set these ambitious goals because of advanced technology, which is now intersecting with global sustainability-based action.
If you want to be part of the fourth industrial revolution and contribute to saving the planet, playing online poker as opposed to driving in your car to the nearest casino will make a small but tangible difference. Register now to play on BetMGM.