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Low-tech solutions to high-tech problems

In this article learn about the ethos of Low-Tech Magazine - low-tech solutions to high-tech problems.

In this video, course contributor Kris De Decker discusses the ethos of Low-Tech Magazine, the idea of approaching high-tech problems with low-tech solutions.

As a potential solution for some of the problems we face due to the scale of technologies, Kris proposes that we look into the past, at a time when low-tech solutions provided us with much more sustainable outcomes. Low-Tech Magazine states that “there is a lot of potential in past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society. Interesting possibilities arise when you combine old technology with new knowledge and new materials, or when you apply old concepts and traditional knowledge to modern technology”.

As Kris mentions in the video the concept of what is low-tech and what is high-tech is a relative concept. A laptop from the mid-2000s may appear to be low-tech by today’s standards, but it is still high-tech in comparison to the typewriter. For Kris, it’s about understanding how we can look to technologies of the past to help fix problems in the present.

So what are some of the solutions that Low-Tech magazine proposes?

How sustainable is a solar-powered website?

Learn about how the magazine runs on solar power and the calculations that go into keeping the magazine online.

Mist showers: sustainable decadence?

An alternative technology to modern showers, the mist shower uses such little water and energy that it could be taken off-grid and even off-pipe in certain urban contexts.

How to build a low-tech solar panel?

This article looks at the forgotten work of solar power pioneer George Cove, whose designs could lead to less complex and more sustainable solar panels.

How to build a low-tech website?

Learn about how Low-Tech Magazine operates, making its content less data-lite.

The 4G mobile internet that’s already there

With so many households having wi-fi routers, discover how utilising these existing pieces of technology could allow us to provide free mobile internet access across densely populated cities.

There are many more articles to discover on Low-Tech Magazine, including articles on high-tech problems and obsolete technologies. Head to the website to learn more.

Discussion prompt

To wrap up, we’d like you to take a look through these articles and share with other learners one takeaway that you find to be most interesting.

This article is from the free online

Building a Sustainable Future with Technology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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