Material World

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There is a plus side to this world wide competition for the consumer, now that we have become a global society;

There is also a cost:

material depletion

Energy resource depletion
disposable attitude
criminal activity

medical side effects and drug abuse



  ***price and diversity of productsTechnology has greatly increased product diversity. We not only have an ever increasing choice of different products to choose from in this day and age, but a wide variety within the same product. For example: at one time, when you were to go to the general store for a pair of boots, there would be a limited variety of styles and sizes to choose from. Today, there are whole stores, some for specific kinds of footwear.

 Henry Ford was to have said: "You can have a car any color you want as long as it is black".***Today, we benefit from a diversity of products our ancestor could never imagine.  Our grandparents are often quick to remind us of the limited availability and even more limited range of choice in what they "had when I was your (our) age". If  a person today wanted to buy a pair of sneakers for example, they could quickly find themselves sorting through isles and walls of brands, styles, colors, sizes, pumps, some with lights, specialty sport, etc. Along with this range of choice comes a range of price. "You pay for what you get", so they say. Usually, the more custom or more value added the product, the more it costs. Another thing our grandparents might be quick to point out to kids today is our through away attitude. Not only are we reminded how lucky we are to have so much, so often with so little effort, but how little we seemingly appreciate what we have. "If I don't like those sneakers, or they are out of style etc, I'll just through them away or get another." Many through away products from pens to cameras, may have not been the answer to their predecessors as far as the environment is concerned. Perhaps our wants have gone far beyond our needs, after all how many sneakers do you really need. 

We have improved medicines and medical procedures, more choices of products and better materials. Another benefit as a result of technology would be the ***improvement in materials ***that those sneakers are made of today. For example: they are much lighter, they wear much better and are more weather proof than sneakers of old. Synthetic (manmade) materials allow better controlling properties and alternative means of producing the required substances that our products are made. Asbestos is a great fire retardant material and was used in many products such as insulation and brake pads. Unfortunately for many, we found out too late about the lethal particles it gives off and how commonly they would be inhaled. 

Unfortunately, we use up a ***lot of energy and natural resources in producing these goods.*** Energy and materials come from our renewable and non renewablewind2.jpg (29011 bytes) resources. Energy and material depletion is a definite concern. Renewable resources windz.jpg (36503 bytes) such as trees and hydro can be replenished within a reasonable amount of time and proper consevation. While non renewable resources like crude oil which is used to produce plastic or refined into fuel, is gone once it is used up. 
Recycling is one attempt (a compensator) to reduce the wasted energy and material that would be used up otherwise. Recycling is also a means of softening the negative environmental hazards resulting from technological graveyard dumping, in other words, land fill dumps.


The Kyoto Accord is an example of Countries trying to come together within this global community we now live in, to make the kind of legislative agreements or treaties (compensator) on technologically produced emissions that hurt the world as a whole. We try to counter things that damage destroy habitat or resources through the government regulated Environment Protection Agency. Some times, environmentalist or the community may have issues or objections to certain developments, and may lobby for Government to do something. Such was in the case of massive pork producers from Japan wishing to set up farms housing in excess of 250,000 pigs in small towns out west. They were driven out of the town because people didn't want to deal with the negative impact of such massive farming techniques. Similarly, the Barrens in Cape Breton and the golf course in West Mabou were canned. Other protective agencies such as The Occupational Safety & Health Board had to set up to protect the workers from being forced to work under dangerous or abusive working conditions.

  During the summer of 2002  we lost sight of the sun for over a week due to the smog that came from the U.S.*** Pollution is a definite negative result of technology. It is this kind of thing that the Kyoto Accord is meant to address.

*** Technological dumping is compounded when you factor the pollution that results from tech byproducts and waste such as toxic emissions and acidic run offs, etc. Government tries to compensate by legislating environmental protections. Other agencies, through customer and product awareness, try to make us responsible not only for environmental pollutants, but over harvesting of our natural resources and offering alternative solutions.


 <<<<Check out what happens to some of the plastic bottles you collect.

Education plays a big role in helping us adapt to this ever increasingly evolving technological society. It is education that convinces people to recycle. With out understanding the benefits, many would simply consider it too bothersome and a waist of time. Education produces an awareness that makes people push for such things as to protect us from things like environmental hazards due to bilge dumping in shipping lanes. Education helps us adjust to social change due to shifts in technological directions, for example: techno phobia, experienced especially by our older generations, who often find themselves in extinct lines of work and feel redundant because of their lack of technological literacy That is not to say that this radical change is an easy transition for these people. Education can help consumers make  decisions such as not to support companies who are slashing our rain forests. Education helps us make better choices such as using floatation tires on forestry equipment to reduce erosion. It's education that encouraged recycling initiatives in order to reduce natural resource depletion. 

Unfortunately, education and accessibility also contributes to sophisticated criminal activity. Night vision glasses, weaponry etc. are utilized by the good guys and the bad guys. Technology opens the doors to new types of criminal activity as well, such as computer hacking and so on. Out of numerous necessities, technology is also their to insure our security. It maybe there to reduce shoplifters or break-ins, but "September 11" will always be a reminder of how important a role technology better play in the future for security of everyone. 

Medical advancements that range from the use of penicillin and inoculations to  eye glasses, wheelchairs and varied prostheses  are obvious benefits of technology. But adverse side effects, abuse and addictions such as in the recent cases of OxyContin related deaths especially in the Sydney, Glacebay area. This is a drug meant as a pain killer for patients such as cancer patients. Some of these patients died from over doses and addictive use, now it is becoming a street drug. 


1.) What are two different ways that technology can be responsible for jobs disappearing form our area? Explain.

2.) What is the Kyoto Accord?

3.) What are 2 big positive differences we see in the products we buy today compared to that of your forefathers.  What are the costs related to having all these products available?

A.) In class assignment:

The link below will bring you to a "Brain pop (pollution activity)". If this link does not work, copy this link to your browser:, click on "science", then " air pollution advanced". Watch the video and do the quiz. Note that you will likely see a question or two from here on your test.

B.) Homework assignment:

I.] In app. 400 words, Discuss 5 positive aspects of technology. With each positive aspect highlight at least one cost or negative effect to society? In other words, match the costs to the benefits to we reap from technology. Explain 3 compensating effects or minimizers to negative effects of technology that has society come up with.
II.] Find a news article that relates to technology. In another 500 words or more, summarize the article and explain in some detail how your choice benefits society and at what cost. Include your article with your paper.


You may combine the above "1"&"2" assignment by producing your own, 600-plus word, news article concerning "the good and bad about technology." That is; an article that illustrates the requirements of #1, perhaps called "For Every Plus There Is a Minus." Your article has to be factual, current and supported with some kind of static's. Identify at least 5 good things and link each to their particular different cost. Also, for at least 3 of these circumstances, indicate how we try to control or rid of the costs, and I ain't talking about money. As in any article you will need a catchy title, an intro, and some kind of conclusion.