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60.Technology and Society by John G. Webster (Editor)

By John G. Webster (Editor)

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To be able to supply food for the rising population, an estimated 12 million km2 of land has been converted from forests and wetlands to croplands. One of the major impacts of technology is through vastly improved agricultural practices in the last few centuries. This improvement has permitted an increasing share of the growing population to move to cities. In most industrialized countries today, less than 3% of the work force works on farms. Prior to the industrial revolution, and still in many countries, that figure was about 75%, and the shift out of agricultural employment has led to urbanization.

Biodiversity encompasses the number and variability of all living organisms, both within a species and between species. 7 million have been described to date (7). Estimates for the loss of species within the next 50 years are 5% to 50%. Anthropogenic factors responsible for loss of biological diversity may be listed as: (1) Destruction, alteration, or fragmentation of habitats (2) Pollution and excessive application of agrochemicals (3) Greenhouse effects and depletion of ozone layer ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 Fig.

In 1800 less than 3% of the world’s population was living in cities with 20,000 or more inhabitants; now this percentage is more than 40%. Global urbanization is set to continue, with increasing tempo in the developing world. It is estimated that more than 80% of the population in developed and more than 50% in developing countries will live in urban areas by the year 2025. 7% per year. This continuing expansion presents many environmental problems and requires the provision of basic services such as water supply, sanitation, housing, transport, and health services.

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