Research a technological solution or an existing technology
Research a technological solution or an existing technology or practice that relates to a Canadian environmental issue (small or large in scope) and analyze it incorporating Franklin’s set of criteria or checklist for judging whether a technology is redemptive.
Use your analysis of the redemptive nature of what you have researched to incorporate it into some aspect(s) of the GPI measure, demonstrating how these two tools combine into a powerful ecological decision-making framework.
Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) (Drones) in Wildlife and Environmental Conservation
Technological developments have revolutionized how environmental issues are being addressed in Canada. Perring et al. (2015) state that the advent of various technologies has resulted in practical, rigorous, and accountable as well as transparent mechanisms for the creation of a socially and environmentally relevant economy. However, for technology to be acceptable, according to Franklin (1999), it should be redemptive. In specific, such technology must fulfil the criteria of promoting justice, restoring reciprocity, conferring both divisible and indivisible benefits, favouring people over machines, maximizing gain and minimizing disaster, favouring conservation over waste, and favouring the reversible compared to the irreversible. One of the technologies which are useful in environmental preservation is the drones (small unmanned aerial systems). This paper provides a discussion of this technology and an analysis of whether it is redemptive using the Franklin (1999)’s seven criteria/checklist. Additionally, the analysis of the redemptive nature will be incorporated into some aspects of the GPI (genuine progress indicator) measure. A conclusion will then be made on whether the technology should be adopted at all based on whether it is redemptive or not.
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems/vehicles, are self-propelled and airborne devices which are remotely piloted. According to Sandbrook (2015), although the technology has been widely used in the military world, it has come to be vital in nature conservation. In specific, due to their ability to monitor remote areas and avoid the risks which would have been found with the use of a pilot, drones appear to be provide environmental conservationists with not only a flexible but also an affordable and accurate solutions to the technical challenges which have previously been found in ecological conservation monitoring and law enforcement (Klemas, 2015). The still and video camera mounted on the drones as well as the thermal and infrared radiation sensors enable them to provide a wide range of information which can be used in making conservation decisions. Primarily, the fixed and rotary wing devices; which are relatively small, have been used in the counting as well as monitoring of wildlife and the provision of other biological features which provides actionable data in conservation efforts (Paneque-Gálvez et al., 2014). For instance, in Canada, drones can be used in the measurement of forest biodiversity, counting of birds in different contexts, and even in conversation s freshwater aquatic habitats.
Analysis Using Franklin’s Set of Criteria
Drones promote the justice of the environment by ensuring that wildlife is protected and forests are conserved. Additionally, it promotes justice for future generations who would like to find that ecological aspects have been conserved (Perring et al., 2015). As such, the technology fulfils Franklin (1999)’s criteria for the promotion of social justice.
The use of drones restores reciprocity by reestablishing the ecosystems functions. By ensuring the monitoring of the wildlife and the forest and other aspects such as the aquatic animals, drones ensure that the ecosystem is repaired based on the information/data that it relays to decision makers (Sandbrook, 2015). As a result, drones fit within the criteria for the restoration of reciprocity.
Confer divisible or indivisible benefits?
Drones serve to confer both divisible and invisible benefits. Notably, whereas divisible benefits are those which some people can enjoy without sharing with others, indivisible benefits are enjoyed jointly by all. According to Paneque-Gálvez et al. (2014), drones provide divisible benefits which are enjoyed by some animals whose natural habitats are conserved. However, unified benefits are those enjoyed by the entire world who view the beauty of Canada.
Favour people over machines?
Drones; unfortunately, do not favour people over machines. With the technology being unmanned and relaying information without having a pilot, then it is effectively supporting devices over people (Klemas, 2015). Based on this criterion, drones fail to be redemptive as they are more focused on the use of technology/machines as opposed to people.
Maximize gain or minimize disaster?
One of the greatest redemptive characteristics of drones is that they minimize disasters in the environment. The fact that they can relay real-time information makes it easier for law enforcers to establish any disaster and take measures to mitigate it before it occurs (Paneque-Gálvez et al., 2014). For instance, drones can avert forest fires by relaying information about a possible fire breakout.
Favour conservation over waste?
The use of drones saves not only resources which would have been used to manually monitor the environment but also the time which would be taken. Additionally, drones ensure that the environment is conserved as opposed to it being polluted and degraded. As such, the technology favours conservation over waste, which makes it redemptive.
Favour the reversible over the irreversible?
Aerial systems/vehicles favour the reversible aspects of the environment as opposed to irreversible. In specific, the drones are meant to ensure that all aspects of the environment which cannot be reversed are conserved. As such, it does not want the environment to have any irreversible aspects which would render sustainability efforts nugatory (Paneque-Gálvez et al., 2014). By protecting the irreversible elements of the environment, then the technology favours the reversible over the immutable.
Whether Technology Is Redemptive
An examination of how drones align with the seven criteria by Franklin shows that the technology is redemptive. Notably, Sandbrook (2015) defines a redemptive technology as one which turns any harmful practices into less harmful ones. Additionally, it is a technology which redeems the environment from some of the practices which affect its sustainability. The analysis has demonstrated that drones not only promote the social justice of the environment but also that of the future generations. Additionally, it presents various divisible and indivisible benefits for specific people and to the entire world. Moreover, the technology favour conservations aver waste by ensuring the monitoring of any adverse practices and hence their rectification (Perring et al., 2015). Besides, the manner in which drones avert any forest fires ensures that the technology minimizes disasters. However, drones have been found to favor machines over people, which is the only negative in Franklin’s criteria. Nevertheless, the technology is not only flexible and transparent but also accountable and hence sustainable. As such, the various benefits of the adoption of the technology outweighs the one Franklins’ criteria that it does not fulfill.
Incorporation into Some Aspect(s) of the GPI Measure
A GPI (genuine progress indicator) is one of the metrics used in the measurement of a country’s growth in its economy. As an alternative to the GDP (gross domestic product), the GPI measures whether any environmental impacts and social costs associated with economic production and consumption are negative or positive in a country’s general health and wellbeing (Kenton, 2018). Some of the measures which have a negative effect on the economy according to the GPI include the cost of ozone depletion and environmental pollution.
Applying the redemptive nature of drones in environmental conservation, then it addresses some of the ecological indicators of the GPI. For instance, the technology reduces the costs of ozone depletion, which might arise due to the degradation of the environment through deforestation and the loss of wildlife (Sandbrook, 2015). Additionally, it addresses the aspect of the cost of forest cover change. By monitoring the forests, the drones can lead to decisions being made to preserve forest cover change and even increase the cover in areas where it is found to have gone below the recommended levels (Klemas, 2015). As a result, drones address some of the aspects; especially, the environmental indicators of the GPI measures and hence is a contributor to the economic growth of the country.
An examination of Franklin’s checklist and the GPI metrics has demonstrated that they are powerful tools/frameworks for ecological-decision making. In specific, whereas Franklin (1999)’s criteria ensure that before a technology is adopted, it has to fulfil a specific checklist, the GPI measure ensures that technology’s effectiveness is assessed based on its ability to lead to the growth of a country’s economy by addressing any negative economic indicators (Doyle, McEachern & MacGregor, 2015). Combining these tools can; thus, be effective in arriving at the best decisions based on its sustainability and ability to render the economy socially and environmentally relevant. Moreover, such tools lead to the best decisions about whether the technology adopted is accountable, transparent, and rigorous.
In conclusion, technological advancements in contemporary society have been vital facilitators of effective, rigorous, and accountable as well as the development of a transparent, socially, and environmentally relevant economy. The technology discussed in this paper was unmanned aerial systems/vehicles, which are self-propelled devices used for the monitoring of the environment. Such devices are ecologically important in environmental conservation through relaying real-time information about forests, wildlife, and aquatic animals. Drones are redemptive based on Franklin’s checklist as they promote justice, restore reciprocity, confer indivisible and divisible benefits, minimize disaster, favour conservation, and favour the reversible over the irreversible. The analysis addresses the environmental indicators of GPI, such as the costs of ozone layer depletion and a reduction in the percentage of forest cover, which are critical environmental aspects which affect the economy of a country. Franklin’s checklist and the GPI indicators are essential frameworks for reaching sustainability decisions for a country.
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