chapter  13
12 Pages

Environment and Development

Since the era of the hunter-collector society, man’s technological inventions have been changing his life drastically and have usually caused some amount of environmental degradation. After the invention of the steam engine, technology developed at a rapid rate that has been accelerating since then. Humans have acquired the power to change the environment and to improve their standard of life. In technologically advanced countries, the problems of nutrition, housing etc. have been dealt with to a great extent; man is effectively protected against extreme temperatures, floods, earthquakes and other adverse natural phenomena. Water treatment technology has almost eliminated typhus, cholera and other infectious disease epidemics that were once a scourge for human communities; vaccines have likewise eliminated many serious illnesses. Working hours have been reduced and the resulting increased free time and modern means of communication have opened possibilities to the human population for understanding the world, cultivation of the mind, travelling and communication. Abundance in developed countries has blunted previous economic and social inequalities in relation to access to consumer goods.