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Technology & Human Environment

The passage of time has connected the invention of the wheel with more than ten million miles of paved roads around the world today, and the capture of fire with six billion tons of carbon going up in smoke each year. Environmental sins and suffering are not new.  Humans have always exploited the territories within reach.  Most observers emphatically designate the present as a period of intense environmental degradation.  Must human ingenuity always slash and burn the environment?  Our question is whether the technology that has extended our reach can now also liberate the environment from human impact--and perhaps even transform the environment for the better.  Well-established trajectories, raising the efficiency with which people use energy, land, water, and materials, can cut pollution and leave much more soil unturned.

The PHE combines our own analyses with those of others to characterize the trajectories of technological developments as they shape the evolution of the human environment.

 

About the icon – Swans, MC Escher (1898 – 1972)

Publications about Technology & Human Environment

1156 JH Ausubel. Nature Rebounds (PDF). The Breakthrough Journal 5: 2015 This article was originally delivered as a Long Now Foundation Seminar, San Francisco, 13 January 2015 and appeared under the title "The Return of Nature: How Technology Liberates the Environment" in the Journal of the Breakthrough Institute Spring 2015.Nature Rebounds,

1158 JH Ausubel. We must make nature worthless [external link]. RealClearScience Sept. 18: 2015 We must make nature worthless,

1148 Ausubel, JH. La liberazione dell'ambiente (autobiography) [external link]. Di Renzo Rome 112 pp 2014 English translation at http://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/Di Renzo Ausubel English.pdf La liberazione dell'ambiente (autobiography),

1122 JH Ausubel. Broadening the scope of global change to include illumination and noise [external link]. SEED Magazine 23 Nov: 2009 Broadening the scope of global change to include illumination and noise, Census of Marine Life, illumination, noise

0107 JH Ausubel, PE Waggoner. Dematerialization: variety, caution, and persistence [external link]. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(35): 12774-12779, 2008 10.1073/pnas.0806099105 DDematerialization: variety, caution, and persistence, Dematerialization, Consumption, carbon, cropland, energy, fertilizer, impact

0102 NM Victor, JH Ausubel. Earth at night - if the rest of the world lived like America (PDF). Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1(1): 2007 Earth at night - if the rest of the world lived like America, energy, electric power

0103 JH Ausubel. The future environment for the energy business (PDF). APPEA Journal Part 2: 487-495, 2007 The future environment for the energy business, energy, energy business, decarbonization, ZEPPs, green strategy, carbon dioxide hydrogen, co2

0096 JH Ausubel. Will the rest of the world live like America? (PDF). Technology in Society 26(2004): 343-360, 2004 Will the rest of the world live like America?,

0091 PE Waggoner, JH Ausubel. A framework for sustainability science: a renovated IPAT identity [external link]. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99(12): 7860-7865, 2002 A framework for sustainability science: a renovated IPAT identity, environmental Impact identity, population, affluence, impact identity

0090 JH Ausubel. Maglevs and the vision of St. Hubert (PDF). In Challenges of a Changing Earth 175-182, 2002 Also in Proceedings of the Global Change Open Science Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10-13 July 2001.Maglevs and the vision of St. Hubert, maglev, St. Hubert, great restorations, farmlands, sea, forests, transportation

0079 JH Ausubel. The great reversal: nature's chance to restore land and sea. Technology in Society 22: 289-302, 2000 The great reversal: nature's chance to restore land and sea, Forests, land use, agriculture, fisheries, oceans

0078 JH Ausubel. Resources are elastic. Earth Matters 46-47, 2000 a magazine published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Winter 1999/2000. This issue contains many of the speeches that were presented at the "State of The Planet" conference held at Columbia in the Fall of 1999.Resources are elastic, natural resources,

0075 JH Ausubel. Because the brain does not change, technology must. Production Efficiencies: The Engineers' Report, American Association of Engineering Societies, Washington, D.C. 14-18, 1999 Republished in: IEEE Aerospace and Electronic SYSTEMS 14(10):3-6, October 1999. The paper is based on a talk Jesse gave at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development meetings in New York in April 1999. Because the brain does not change, technology must, Human behavior

0074 JH Ausubel. Dis the threat industry. Technological Forecasting and Society Change 62(2): 119-120, 1999 Dis the threat industry, threat,

0069 JH Ausubel. Five worthy ways to spend large amounts of money for research on environment and resources [external link]. The Bridge 29(3): 4-16, 1999 Five worthy ways to spend large amounts of money for research on environment and resources, Research, funding, zepp, wood products, natural gas

0067 JH Ausubel. Reasons to worry about the human environment. Journal of the Cosmos Club of Washington D.C 8(1): 12, 1998  Republished in Technology in Society 21:217-231, 1999. Reasons to worry about the human environment, climate and biodiversity, behavioral poisons, libido, depopulation, falling work, rejection of science, twilight of the west

0066 JH Ausubel. The environment for future business. Pollution Prevention Review 8(1): 39-52, 1998 This article has been republished in the journal Environmental Regulation and Permitting 9(2):251-62, 1999.The environment for future business, business, efficiency, energy, decarbonization, agricultural yields, water use, material flows

0065 JH Ausubel. Resources and environment in the 21st century: Seeing past the phantoms. World Energy Council Journal July: 8-16, 1998 Resources and environment in the 21st century: Seeing past the phantoms, natural resources, land use, population, gdp, energy

0063 JH Ausubel. Industrial ecology: a coming of age story (PDF) [external link]. Resources 130: 14, 1998 Published by Resources for the Future, Washington, DCIndustrial ecology: a coming of age story, Industrial Ecology, Consumption

0061 JH Ausubel. Environmental trends (PDF). Issues in Science and Technology 13(2): 78-81, 1997 Environmental trends, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population

0060 JH Ausubel and HD Langford (eds). Technological trajectories and the human environment [external link]. National Academy Press, Washington DC 1997 Also appeared as special issue, "The Liberation of the Environment,"Daedalus 125(3):1-17, 1996.Technological trajectories and the human environment, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, carbon, dematerialization, natural resources

0059 JH Ausubel. Liberation of the environment. Pp. 1-13 in Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment, JH Ausubel and HD Langford (eds) 1997 An earlier version was published by The Collegium Budapest, Budapest, Hungary, A krnyezet felszabadtasa (The Liberation of the Environment, in Hungarian) Magyar Tudomany CII(2):164-171, 1995. Also appeared in Portuguese, A Liberacao do Meio Ambiente, Tecbahia 12(2):29-41, 1997Liberation of the environment, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, carbon, dematerialization, natural resources

0057 IK Wernick, JH Ausubel. Industrial ecology: some directions for research. With the Vishnu Group, The Rockefeller University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 1997 Industrial ecology: some directions for research, Industrial ecology, dematerialization, material substitution, economics, zero emission, materials, life cycle, recycling

0055 JH Ausubel. The virtual ecology of industry. J Ind Ecol 1(1): 10-11, 1997 The virtual ecology of industry, Industrial ecology

0062 JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Elektron: Electrical systems in retrospect and prospect. Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment 110-134, 1997 Also appeared in Daedalus 125(3):139-169, Summer 1996.Elektron: Electrical systems in retrospect and prospect, energy, electric power

0051 JH Ausubel. Can technology spare the earth?. Am Sci 84(2): 166-178, 1996 Republished in Current Perspectives in Geology, Fourth Edition, Michael McKinney, Robert L. Tolliver, Parri Shariff, eds., Wadsworth, Boston, MA, 1998. Can technology spare the earth?, Industrial ecology, dematerialization, material substitution, economics, zero emission, materials, life cycle, decarbonization

0045 JH Ausubel, DG Victor, IK Wernick. The environment since 1970. Consequences: The Nature and Implications of Environmental Change 1(3): 2-15, 1995 The environment since 1970, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, carbon, dematerialization, natural resources, environmental

0039 JH Ausubel. Working less and living longer: Long-term trends in working time and time budgets. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 50: 113-131, 1995 Working less and living longer: Long-term trends in working time and time budgets, Labor, longevity, population

0037 JH Ausubel. Directions for environmental technologies (PDF). Technology in Society 16(2): 139-154, 1994 Also in Impresa Ambiente 4:8-16, 1994 (in Italian).Directions for environmental technologies, environmental technologies, decarbonization, carbon dioxide, co2

0030 JH Ausubel. 2020 vision (also known as "eight billion people") (PDF). The Sciences 33(6): 14-19, 1993 also Published in Science and Technology for Eight Billion People, Europe's Responsibility, P.H Mettler, ed., New Europe Publications, London, pp. 307-319, 1995. 2020 vision (also known as "eight billion people"), population, land use, forestry, agriculture

0026 JH Ausubel. Chernobyl after Perestroika: Reflections on a recent visit. Technology in Society 14: 187-198, 1992 Chernobyl after Perestroika: Reflections on a recent visit, nuclear power, soviet union

0025 JH Ausubel, DG Victor. Verification of international environmental agreements. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 17: 1-43, 1992 Verification of international environmental agreements, environmental law

0024 JH Ausubel. Industrial ecology: Reflections on a colloquium [external link]. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 89(3): 879-884, 1992 Industrial ecology: Reflections on a colloquium, Industrial ecology

0020 JH Ausubel. Political fallout: What fate awaits Chernobyl in the new world order?  (PDF). The Sciences 81: 16-21, 1991 Political fallout: What fate awaits Chernobyl in the new world order? , nuclear power, soviet union

0017 JH Ausubel and HE Sladovich, (eds). Technology and environment [external link]. National Academy, Washington DC 1989 Technology and environment, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, decarbonization, dematerialization, natural resources

0016 JH Ausubel. Technology and environment: An overview (PDF). Pp 1-21 in Technology and Environment, National Academy, Washington DC 1989 Technology and environment: An overview, energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, decarbonization, dematerialization, natural resources

0006 JH Ausubel, M Stoto. A note on populations 50 years hence (PDF) [external link]. IIASA Working Paper WP-81-120: 12, 1981 A note on populations 50 years hence, population, logistic curve