Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment

Citation: 1997 Also appeared as special issue, "The Liberation of the Environment,"Daedalus 125(3):1-17, 1996.

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Science and technology have liberated humans from the harshness of the environment–though often at considerable cost to the environment. Is it now possible that trends in science and technology might actually help to liberate the environment from us? “The Liberation of the Environment” is the central theme of book Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment. Drawing on a number of recent studies of technological innovation, human consumption, and their impact on the global environment, the thirteen authors in this issue direct their attention toward a single, fundamental question: Is human development increasing or decreasing the stress we place on the environment? The answers they provide are provocative, unexpected, and compelling.

Keywords: energy, agriculture, water, materials, population, technology innovation, diffusion, land use, carbon, dematerialization, natural resources

Areas of Research: Technology & Human Environment

The book is based on a conference held at The Rockefeller University and sponsored by the Program for the Human EnvironmentElectric Power Research Institute, and National Academy of Engineering. It has been published by the National Academy Press. Their bookstore web site contains ordering information. The papers in the book also appeared in a special issue of the journal Daedalus.

The conference, titled “Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment”, brought together leading scientists in disciplines as diverse as philosophy and agricultural science to discuss “The Liberation of the Environment.”