Cause and Effect and Effect and Effect…

“On further examination, however, all three types of techno-fixes ultimately resulted in other environmental problems, and they thus offer some insight into the strengths and limitations of the engineering and scientific methods used to create and evaluate techno-fixes” (LeCain, p. 139). The Ducktown Operation’s first techno-fix was transformational (sulfur dioxide into fertilizer) and helped the quality of air around the operation. The second fix was relocational (fertilizer taken to farmers all over). However, the fertilizer used often ended up poisoning nearby water and killing all life except the algae and bacteria that fed on the fertilizer’s product. The Deer Lodge Valley Operation used all three fixes. Arsenic was captured and turned into pesticide. The pesticide poisoned the land it was used on. The arsenic leftover at the operation caused problems for people, especially children, much later in the 1980’s. LeCain is clear that these fixes are entirely temporary and likely only have the chance to positively affect their area of origin, while harming other ecosystems (such as fertilizer or pesticides being used elsewhere).

As I sit here in a well-lit room early in the morning, doing my laundry, reading a book on my laptop, and texting friends on my phone, it’s hard for me to say that my opinion on the matter is unbiased. Copper has allowed astronomical advancements with electricity and I cannot easily imagine a life without it. LeCain brings up a very good point that techno-fixes are only temporary and in the long run, much of the mining industry is disastrous for the environment. This further harms the credibility of my opinion. I have never (to my knowledge) been negatively affected by a mining operation. I have only reaped the benefits of it in the form of the technology and electronics at my disposal. I recognize and agree that we are harming the environment with mining, but to an extent, I find the product to be worth the damage.

3 thoughts on “Cause and Effect and Effect and Effect…”

  1. I like the title. I agree completely with your first paragraph and used the same reference to describe LeCain’s argument. However, your second paragraph got me thinking a bit. When you state that you have never been negatively affected by mining. I think everyone has some sort of negative effect from mining and for some it’s much worse, such as health problems. But for everyone that lives in the country, we pay taxes that go to the clean-up efforts of these superfund sites. I also don’t agree that it was worth it. Although I do enjoy my technology I wish that mining had better outcomes. I think that the consequences we are dealing with are too great to say it was worth it especially to those who have health problems.

  2. I agree with you that these techno fixes are almost completely temporary fixes. They help the immediate problem at hand but they generally lead only to more and sometimes more harmful problems down the road. Where I begin to disagree with you a little bit is in your second paragraph when you are talking about the use of copper. I agree that copper is necessary to our society and it has helped to create so many useful technologies that we all enjoy. I don’t agree, however, that you have not been effected by mining. I believe that everybody can feel the negative effects that mining brings. I agree that we need copper, but we need to find a safer way to mine it.

  3. I completely agree with you about mining being worth the risk. How far our society has developed has a lot to with all of the precious minerals and metals that have been mined. Yes, mining is harmful to the environment and to humans as well, but for the time being I do not see another alternative to mining. The easiest way to look at the problem is from a cost-benefit analysis, Do the benefits outweigh the costs? I believe they do, and eventually we will discover or invent a way that makes mining even safer, for example mining asteroids somehow. I believe most of the fault for the problems that mining has caused lies on two different fronts, first not knowing exactly what kind of damage this was causing at the time, and the companies that owned the mines dragging their feet about fixing their mistakes.

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