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How Computer Programming Helps in Combating Climate Change

Arleen Atienza
How Computer Programming Helps in Combating Climate Change

Climate change has been the biggest threat that the world faces today. And while combating this global crisis may commonly be associated with “eco-friendly” practices like the three Rs, or by taking that ten-minute walk instead of hailing a cab to minimize one’s carbon footprint, rarely do we recognize the beneficial impact of technology in alleviating climate change. 

One of the greatest innovations in technology is the birth of information and computer technology. Not only it helped in revolutionizing the field of research through data science, but it served as an avenue for learning to all of us.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Today, coders and web developers are utilizing their knowledge in computer science by coming up with ways on minimizing the negative impact of software browsing in our environment. And to further shed light on these practices, we’re going to explore how computer programming helps in our battle against climate change.

The Role of Coding in Environmental Studies

In the past decades, thousands of environmental researches have been conducted by our scientists in pursuit of understanding the condition of our planet, as well as finding ways to make up for the irreversible effects of man-made activities in our environment. Thanks to data science, researchers can gather, analyze, and visualize data more efficiently—making it possible for scientists to keep up with the ever-looming problem of climate change on our planet.

The role of coding in research may be obscure, but it is a fundamental skill involved in every step of a research process. It is mainly utilized by data scientists to handle data effectively—expediting the grueling process of data querying and making data easier to digest for non-specialist audiences through visual representations. Of course, making the public understand these environmental problems are as important as creating a definite solution since these solutions require collective effort more than anything else.

Coding in AI

Protecting our environment has never been easier—thanks to AI and machine learning, more tools and methods beneficial to environmental conservation have been introduced to us. From cultivating our lands, to weather monitoring, and even solving our pollution problems, AI has been utilized in various ways across different industries, including the environmental sector. For example, the introduction of electric vehicles may significantly reduce the excessive amount of carbon monoxide pollution caused by motor vehicles. AI can also improve our understanding of the impact of climate change by allowing smart computers to handle complex systems through deep-learning networks. All these and more, are made possible through coding. Without coding, these machines will just remain as ordinary tools that would require human intelligence to work.

Sustainable Coding

You may not see it, but even virtual activities like internet surfing or basically anything you can do with your smartphone or computer also have their fair share in the global warming that we experience today. Obviously, these devices require electricity to work, and the more you drain it, the more energy it consumes. With roughly 4.1 billion people or about 53% of our global population, the small fragments of energy we consume can add up, resulting in a huge carbon footprint, and massive impact on global warming.

Minimizing the amount of energy we consume by changing the way we code may be a more practical solution in solving this problem. Less code means less energy is needed to run a program. Coders may practice sustainable code creation by choosing “negative code” and avoiding “spaghetti code”. Spaghetti code is a pejorative term for unstructured, hard-to-follow source code, while negative code is the process of writing fewer lines of code that are easier to read—reducing energy consumption by extending users’ battery life and generating faster loading times. For existing codes, coders can also perform code refactoring, which is the process of improving the internal structure of an existing code without changing its external behavior. This is also done to reduce the risk of spaghetti code.

Aside from programs and mobile applications, coders can enable a “browser caching” feature on their websites to lessen how often users download your code. 

Coding in Environmental Education

Environmental education is crucial in solving the problem of climate change. Without proper knowledge of the climatic conditions and the worsening problem of pollution in the world, people will continue to put our environment at risk through their non-sustainable practices. Thankfully, we have innovative practices like coding and programming, that help us spread knowledge in different ways. 

Introducing eco-friendly practices through coding is beneficial in cultivating a sustainable lifestyle among communities around the world. For example, allowing kids to learn how to build an ocean cleanup game can spark an eco-conscious disposition at a very young age. Meanwhile, using a tree-planting search engine like Ecosia, can motivate internet users to take part in environmental conservation efforts like reforestation. And how can we forget about social media? Huge platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have a plethora of available educational resources through posts, videos, pages, and even online communities that people can access.

In conclusion

Technology is indeed a great help in solving the world’s climate crisis. But we must also keep in mind that relying on technology alone will not solve the root of the problem. Leaning towards a greener lifestyle, and making more sustainable choices are some of the little ways every individual can do to make a big difference. And as we’re left with little to no time reversing all of the negative effects our daily activities have caused in the environment, the best time to do it is now.

Arleen Atienza
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