Positive Environmental Impacts of Computer Science

Computer Screens

Computer science is a factor in almost all aspects of modern life; everything from medical procedures to our cars to our smart home devices to managing our drinking water supplies.  Computer science is also helping to protect and preserve our environment.  Here are some interesting ways:


Computers have been used for years to monitor and gain an understanding of chemicals found in our soil and waters. This helps to determine regulations for items such as fertilizers and pesticides.  For example, certain chemicals might be considered safe on their own, but computer models can demonstrate that toxins could possibly be formed if those chemicals were to recombine in the soil. 

A further example of how computer science is benefiting our environment relates to stream restoration.  We have learned how the presence of certain organisms, or too much nitrogen can have a negative impact on streams, which then helps us understand how to restore them.  Too much nitrogen in our water supply is not good for humans as this can lead to high levels in our body, thus restricting the way we use oxygen. 

Corridors for Wildlife

Using the power of computers, tremendous amounts of data is assimilated about the geography of a particular area, the wildlife that lives there, the local environment and other factors.  This enables a model of the area to be created.  The goal is to identify areas best suited to becoming protected corridors where wildlife can travel through.  This lessens the impact of land development in the area on local wildlife inhabitants while also minimizing the effect on the people who live there. 

Global Warming

Computers can perform functions such as identifying particular data from massive amounts of information, assimilate that data and make logical conclusions from it.  They can do all this in a tiny fraction of the time it would take people to do so, if it was even feasible at all.  In the case of global warming, computer models can show the progression of what earth looked like over the past thousands of years, to demonstrate the effects of global warming over that period.  Data can also be used to connect the melting of polar ice fields to the effects of human activity.  In addition, computer models can and have accurately predicted the effects of global warming as this Forbes article describes.

Combining Agencies

It is possible for various agencies to identify overlaps and gaps in their conservation efforts through the use of computers.  This is by combining vast amounts of data from various sources.  Likewise this combining of data can help governmental and private entities determine how to work together to gain the largest impact with the least economic cost. 

There are of course countless more examples of the positive environmental impacts of computer science in helping to protect and restore our earth.  Every one of us as citizens of the world must also do our part. 

At BSC Solutions Group, computers and other network equipment we replace for clients are  taken to a recycling centre to minimize what ends up in landfill.