Technogaianism is a bright green environmentalist stance of active support for the research, development and use of emerging and future technologies to help restore Earth’s environment. Technogaians argue that developing safe, clean, alternative technology should be an important goal of environmentalists. Technogaianism is a movement within Transhumanism.
This point of view is different from the position of radical environmentalists and the opinion that all technology necessarily degrades the environment, and that environmental restoration can only occur with reduced reliance on technology. Technogaians argue that technology gets cleaner and more efficient with time. They also point to such things as hydrogen fuel cells to demonstrate that developments do not have to come at the environment’s expense. They argue that emerging technologies such as nanotechnology and Biotechnology can directly reverse environmental degradation. Molecular nanotechnology, for example, could convert garbage in landfills into useful materials and products, while biotechnology could lead to novel microbes that devour hazardous waste.
While many environmentalists contend that most technology is detrimental to the environment, technogaians point out that it has been in humanity’s best interests to exploit the environment mercilessly until fairly recently. Technogaians believe humanity has reached a threshold, and that the only way for human civilization to continue advancing is to accept the tenets of technogaianism and limit future exploitative exhaustion of natural resources and minimize further unsustainable development or face the widespread, ongoing mass extinction of species. Furthermore, technogaians argue that only science and technology can help humanity be aware of, and possibly develop counter-measures for, risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth such as a possible impact event. Technology is not just a source of Existential risks, but a necessary tool to prevent them.
The most advanced technogaian proposal is the “terraforming” of a planet, moon, or other body by deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, or ecology to be similar to those of Earth in order to make it habitable by humans.
James Hughes mentions Walter Truett Anderson, author of To Govern Evolution: Further Adventures of the Political Animal, as an example of a technogaian political philosopher; argues that technogaianism applied to environmental management is found in the reconciliation ecology writings such as Michael Rosenzweig’s Win-Win Ecology: How The Earth’s Species Can Survive In The Midst of Human Enterprise; and considers Bruce Sterling’s Viridian design movement to be an exemplary technogaian initiative.
Ecosocialist critics of technogaianism argue that the idea that technological progress will solve ecological problems is popular because it deludes people into hoping that it will prevent them from having to seriously question and change their individual and collective way of life. The development of technology, or of some technical fields at the expense of others, only sustains the capitalist system and feeds profit. Technological fixes to ecological problems are thus rejected by ecosocialists.