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What is a low-tech solution?

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The movement of sustainability and to use of sustainable resources for products question itself are we using sustainable products? The question raised by the prominent tech expertise about the raw materials used in sustainable labeled services? Is the foundation or the core a sustainable material?

And finally, is the solution for sustainable livelihood rely upon high-tech solutions? Can’t we rely upon low-tech solutions?

A key observation made by the researchers who value low-tech solutions is the extensive use of materials in wind turbines or solar panels that is unknown to many how to recycle once the purpose is done.

The focus and make it strongly acknowledges among the mass group, that high-tech is not just the solution for green energy resources. Low-tech places equal importance to bring back what is getting lost due to mass consumption.

That’s right, Mass consumption is also been emphasize to monitor the consumption and keep a check on the demand. As consumption increases, so does the demand.

As McMahon addresses the need of looking back into our civilization history, how the archetype used to address such conflicting issues in the interest of the nation for the long run,

In Japan, during the Edo period, recycling and reusing materials were practiced.  ‘From 1603 to 1867, the country was effectively closed to the outside world, with very limited access to raw materials. Therefore, extensive reuse and repair – even of things such as broken pottery or utensils with holes that we’d now regard as waste – became a way of life. Specialist repairers would mend or recycle everything from paper lanterns and books to shoes, pans, umbrellas, and candles.’

Well, in our present times, traveling across the boundaries got so much importance, that the pandemic era shows the importance of being at home and being contained with limited resources.

Low-tech is based on strong sustainability, collective resilience, and cultural transformation. Strong sustainability means sobriety, efficiency, and durability. Collective resilience means maintainability, accessibility, and authorization. The cultural transformation means empowerment, connectedness, and simplifaction.

In an article published by biobasedpress. eu, three guidelines for low-tech solutions:-

  1. Recycling should be easy with products designed for afterlife use.
  2. Use of more robust and repairable products.
  3. And supported by the legislation for standardizing the consumer goods and making them returnable.

The low-Tech Magazine by McMahon proposes many such solutions that have been popular among our previous generations:-

  • Use of windmills friction to heat the buildings.
  • Use of fruit walls like in the 1600s for local, warm microclimates to grow Mediterranean fruits.
  • The use of reeds for building materials or creating wetlands for wastewater treatment has been highlighted in LoTEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) by American architect and academic Julia Watson.
  • Use of pedal-powered generator or controller as an energy source to integrate it into a solar PV system.

The use of Low-tech solutions has been made in the agricultural sector especially in Africa with various projects addressing the core theme.

The very fact of using rare earth materials to make batteries needed in electric vehicles alters the story of sustainability or sustainable transportation. Nevertheless, the scandal of the use of poverty-ridden African underage kids to extract such rare materials from places as dangerous as anybody can think of. Let your question are we achieving the SDGs?

The low-tech solution doesn’t suggest you go back to the Victorian era but it also questions the profitability of any company to enter into such technology. The idea took birth in the 1970s to solve the energy crisis issues. The movement was supported by British economist E.F.Schumacher’s in 1973 criticizing the dark side of modern technology and its impact on fossil fuels.

Schumacher was more local about the use of simple, affordable, and efficient technologies such as hydroelectricity devices in rural communities.

But should we not use high-tech solutions? I would say “No”. The marvelous changes and evolutionary models presented by each of the high-tech cannot lose their impact. But can we combine the low-tech use more in our present-day technology and increase the demand for such solutions by a higher percentage?

Can we not focus on making trends of re-using or using repaired electronic items? A trend of using the repaired devices as vintage products and using them in day-to-day life. A trend of using your first phone/vehicle/device for more than a decade.

The idea of using low-tech solutions was to combat the replenishment of fossil fuels but with the modern age and use of the comfort necessities, the demand for high-tech became an easy way to become the fastest-growing sector. As the customer cherishes the end-product and the things it can do, low-tech loses its charm as being more technical but not a cool thing to go for at first.

It also depends upon the geographical location where the low-tech is meeting the demand but not in other cities or locations. The way of habitats may not be easily persuaded for low-tech solutions.

It has been a long road but awareness and making it look classy and elegant can create a need among the mass.

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