What is 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.
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