Fixing the Unfixable

In defining techno fixes, LeCain breaks them down into three separate categories, transformational, relocational and delaying. In terms of environmental damage, none of these have proven to be lasting fixes for the problems that human deep mining has produced. In the case  of the Anaconda Smelter, all three of these “fixes” were implemented, transforming the arsenic produced in the smelting process into a usable pesticide, coating their timber in arsenic dust thus delaying the leeching of the arsenic into the soil, having relocated the arsenic into other economic sectors, agriculture. Seeing how all of the techno fixes continue to damage the environment, through agricultural runoff, or seeping into the groundwater when the mine pumps get shut off and the wood preserved with arsenic, soaks into said water, LeCain makes the argument that the scope of our fixes is too focused. A mining engineer may fix all the problems that directly affect his field of expertise but in doing so he pawns off the problem to someone else in the future of someone else’s field. A more inclusive and less profit minded approach towards these fixes is a step in the right direction(LeCain 138, 142,  147)

I think that if we cease to use copper, for example, the substitute that we select has the potential to be just as bad. Our continued use and exploitation of copper has given us incredible insight into the workings of mining systems. If we give up copper now, we would have to learn entirely new lessons in terms of the effects said mines would have on the environment. That being said, we can be doing a much better job in the way that we handle the issues that we create. All in all, I agree with LeCain’s argument, there is no perfect fix but we can change the way that we go about implementing the solutions that we do come up with.

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