Alternative Technology takes different forms, all of which are in some way proposed as being possible technologies which could be chosen and used instead of the mainstream accepted or traditional technology. Often, the term, “alternative technology” has been used by environmentalists to mean “Technologies which are more environmentally friendly than the functionally equivalent technologies dominant in current practice.” (Alternative Technology in Wikipedia). This was the original sense used by the founders of the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.
In the 1970s, the term “Radical Technology” was used by part of the environmentalist movement to mean, “Technologies that could help create a less opressive and more fulfilling society” “Small scale techniques suitable for use by individuals and communities, in a wider social context of humanised production under workers’ and consumers’ control. ” From the Undercurrents book Radical Technology.
Another, similar definition is, “Technologies that would facilitate the radical transformation of industrial society: a transition to a more ecologically harmonious, socially convivial, and economically steady-state society.” Adrian Smith, “The Alternative Technology Movement” in the Human Ecology Review, Vol. 12, No.2. 2005.
Alternative Technology overlaps with Appropriate Technology (sometimes called Intermediate Technology). “Appropriate Technology is technology that is designed with special consideration to the environmental, ethical, cultural, social and economical aspects of the community it is intended for.” (Wikipedia).
Some forms of alternative technology, for example, Orgone accumulators, dowsing, crystal healing are criticised as being pseudosciences. See
List of Topics characterized as pseudoscience in Wikipedia
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