Highway to the Extraction Zone

In the reading, LeCain examines how science has impacted mining in extreme environments. He notes that “With improved maps and measurements, mining could be rationalized and systemized; obstacles could be overcome with powerful new machines and techniques,” (Lecain,36). Creating a way to have the hidden underground world visible, was one of the greatest challenges for large scale mining. As science and engineering became more exact, our ability to manipulate the environment changed drastically. He noted that the attitude that the mining engineers had influenced how they saw the environment. LeCain notes that “… just as men used the power dynamics of gender to dominate women, so too did they increasingly believe their technological systems could dominate or marginalize the natural world- or perhaps even subsume nature altogether”(LeCain,60). The engineers started seeing the natural world as something that they could and should beat. This perception caused many environmental problems, as well as, societal problems within the American west. Seeing the population as greater than the environment, creates in our minds this idea that our needs outweigh that of Earth.

Mining is an important aspect that influences a lot more of the world than it may appear to, at first glance. Computers and other electronics require medals that can be only extracted through the practice of mining. With this in mind, we need to evaluate mining as something greater than the cause of environmental issues. Creating and adapting mining techniques are the only way that we should see the problems of mining. One day mining could be safe for humans and the environment, but if it doesn’t, miners and mining engineers understand the risks that the job requires. Mining doesn’t have to be safe, but it should be at least getting closer to the idea of “safe”.

1 thought on “Highway to the Extraction Zone”

  1. Jacob, I dig your title, and I like your stance on mining and its impacts on the environment in that the dangers of mining need to be accounted for, but not overhauled all at once. Mining, because of its history, has created numerous environmental issues that must be considered, but the entire industry cannot simply be changed or eliminated over night, because as you state it fuels the modern electronics industry and a great many other factors that are essential to modern life. Where, though, would you suggest the line be struck between the Importance of environmental health and the necessity of mining underground metals? Both are incredibly important to the success of the human race, but their problems are intertwined. Also, do you agree that, because technology allows us to, we should view nature as something to be conquered for the greater benefit of technological advancement?

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