Embracing Fintech

How Tech Changes Rivers

A while back a clip called ‘How wolves change rivers’ by Sustainable Man made the rounds. The clip was aired in 2014, but went viral shortly and is still one of the most fascinating pieces on natural phenomena. It detailed the effect of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and the positive outcome of trophic cascade resulting from this reintroduction.

Rand Rescue considers trophic cascade and how it could be an analogy for technology and fintech in particular.

Trophic cascade as an analogy for tech

Though the research has been widely debated, the research mentioned above points towards the effects of apex predators – those at the top of the food chain – on their environments and ecosystems.  

Of course, the position of man as the apex predator is indisputable, but many cognitive scientists and philosophers believe this position is due to one thing only – our ability to communicate and, through this communication, to work together and solve problems. It is our sentience, as we labelled ourselves. 

But in line with our position at the top of the food chain, our impact on the environment is also indisputable. Another inconvenient truth is how harmful and invasive humans have become. Not only do individuals and corporates remain largely oblivious of climate change, but we are wilfully and indomitably destroying ecosystems and species in our quest for, well, for world domination I suppose.

Technology can slow down climate change

But if wolves can change rivers as apex predators in their environment, how much more can humans ‘change rivers’? What can we as the greatest consumers of natural resources do to prevent the total devastation of earth as we know it?

We already know what negative impact humans have on the environment. And it’s no secret that much of this negative impact is as a result of industrialisation and, in essence, our technological innovation.

Weighing up the pros and cons of technology would be rather tricky. In the expat community in particular, reliance on technology has become non-negotiable. We need it for our facetime and skype meetings, for placing calls, transferring money, visiting family, ordering things from afar and so much else. To weigh up the negatives and positives properly would require in depth analysis with impact assessments across various tech industries in multiple locations and considering the emotive aspects and impacts on individual lives. It would not be feasible nor very responsible to attempt a comprehensive dissection of our impact through a pro-con comparison in a simple blog. So, let’s ignore our negative impact for a moment and focus on the possible positives around technology.

Let’s consider the ways in which technology can possibly have positive impact on the environment – and how we could change rivers…

Fintech offers financial services in remote areas

It’s no secret that fintech banks the unbanked. It’s also no secret that much of the environmental degradation we see today has its roots in poverty. It’s simply impossible to expect those living in impoverished conditions to become custodians of nature. But fintech can reach places traditional institutions can’t as well as provide financial solutions where many industry giants can’t reach.

And this is not only limited to finances – people are able to communicate from remote areas with little effort through radio, cellular and wireless services. We are able to see our loved ones in the palm of our hands even though they may be thousands of kilometres away.

Technology can educate

Technology means getting news and information at your fingertips. The faster and more tagged or specified various search engines and websites become, the easier for us to get information. And this information is the ultimate key to becoming better, smarter and more responsible in our dealings with nature, as well as those that affect the environment indirectly.

Moreover, technological advancements have been used quite literally to offer educational services in far-off places through video-tutoring, downloadable tutorials and even verifying medical information between users and labs remotely.

Technology, of course, is also crucial in understanding our impact and forecasting such impact. This understanding allows us to better plan for the future.

Technology is mostly regulated

Though you’ll always get the guy who builds all sort of contraptions in his garage, technology is for the most part regulated, and as the industry becomes more environmentally conscious, we will undoubtedly see more penalties and rewards based on one’s environmental impact.

Financial service providers using technology are, in particular, subject to much scrutiny and regulation by lawmakers and governments. As governments work together to solve issues of climate change, we would undoubtedly see even stricter rules for how technologies are to be used to mitigate the impact on ecosystems, communities and nature as a whole.

Technology can simplify travel

We may be living in an era where travel is becoming easier, but rapid advances in technology also means that we no longer need to travel if we don’t want to. Everyone is just a click away – we can literally run our finances and businesses remotely, while interacting with our friends, colleagues and family members in different locations in an online sphere. With limited travel, we could see less emissions.

For those of us who live in remote areas, this could be a true blessing. In fact, if we can save on travelling for business and other official purposes, we can save up to visit our family abroad more frequently.

There are, of course, various other pros and cons I can think of, but perhaps a start is simply to consider the possibilities – to think of the ways our business can change the course of humanity for the better.

Rand Rescue embraces positive tech

As a remote service provider, Rand Rescue is cognisant of how technology can ease people’s lives, but also of how such technologies can mitigate environmental degradation.

Watch this space for more news on Rand Rescue and our fintech innovations.