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Category:Appropriate technology

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Information on Appropriate technology can be found at Wikipedia. What's this?

Defining Appropriate Technology is an ongoing personal process. Many groups take exception with the phrase 'Appropriate Technology', especially when the words 'appropriate' and 'technology' are taken and defined separately. That said, taken the words together as a single coined phrase, working definitions of Appropriate Technology allow us to analyze tools, processes and technologies based upon explicitly stated criteria or guidelines.

E.F. Schumacher

AT is technology with a human face.

"Economics as if people mattered" was the subtitle of "Small is Beautiful", Schumacher's seminal book

Voluntary simplicity advocates (aka neo-luddites)

Technology whose risk/cost/value tradeoff is compelling enough to justify continued use.

Annecdotal Definitions

  • Traditional American Folk Saying

Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.

  • unknown origin //(anybody knows?) please edit// Estanislavo Ploskonka would start his AT presentations with that phrase

Doing what can be done with what we are, what we have, where we are

Virtual Zambia

A technology that complements the factor endowments of the country.

IISD Developing Ideas

A flexible and participatory approach to developing economically viable, regionally applicable and sustainable technology

From Parras de la Fuente Summer Program

Summer 2005

Appropriate Technology (AT) encompasses thoughts, tools, implementations and observations, dependant upon cultural, political, economic and geographic context. In addition, AT works with and mimics the flow of nature to improve over existing impacts.

AT includes adaptability, durability, and lifecycle analysis, while facilitating nonviolence and empowerment through community identified and locally maintainable/operable holistic approaches to meeting needs for present and future generations.

Summer 2006

Appropriate Technology is a analytical, iterative and cooperative approach to supporting health and happiness by:

  • effectively leveraging local knowledge, materials, wealth and labor
  • strengthening symbiotic relationships between individuals, communities and their environment
  • employing biomimicry and cradle-to-cradle design
  • encouraging transparency, equality and empowerment through education
  • considering cultural, political and historical context
  • effecting fun, sexy and functional solutions

to bolster local economy and workforce, reduce environmental impacts and improve current conditions for the future.

From Humboldt State University, Engr114, Spring 2006

The following 5 definitions come from student groups in Humboldt State University's Engineering 114, Whole Earth Engineering, course in Spring 2006.

Definition 1

Appropriate technology is not a product which can be purchased with a Visa card. There are no consumers of appropriate technologies, only participants. The benefits of appropriate technology can only be gained if folks are willing to invest time and energy to care about the technologies in their lives.

It is a process to meet the needs and support the health and livelihood of local and global communities within the capacity of the natural environment to support those needs sustainably.

Appropriate technologies must be available to all members of a community. This means these technologies should be affordable, and information and education for them must be available.

The process of adaptation to the needs of people and the realities of the natural world occurs in the original technology design process and in its ongoing operation. This means appropriate technology must be democratically controlled and be adjustable according to changing needs and conditions.

Definition 2

Appropriate technology is the combination of necessities, wants, desires and the moral conscience that allow us to achieve our goals most efficiently while best managing and using our resources so that we may be sustainable and conscientious in our actions.

Definition 3

Appropriate technology is any technology that, through a holistic perspective, promotes justice, equity, and reciprocity in an effort to ensure perpetual ecological health and prosperity. To accomplish these ends simple, local, and non-capital intensive techniques should be employed to foment community building as well as social, economic, political responsibility.

Definition 4

AT can only come from an appropriate process. Therefore, a definition of AT must be an appropriate process. This process is a holistic weighing of the effects, methods, modes and organization required to create and utilize a particular technology. The goal for the technology should be that it is sustainable, restorative and in balance with natural ecosystems.

Definition 5

AT whether physical or intangible, will eventually melt back into the earth. It is potentially a philosophy, a practice, and a lifestyle. It incorporates an awareness of geographic location, effects of process, and local resources. AT incorporates natural cycles. It is conscious consumption. It is a shift of priorities. It requires looking at the whole picture. It is working together as a community to achieve the greater good for the whole as opposed to the self.

Violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics aka What it is not

2nd law irony


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