Minds and Mines

Through the past several decades we have been observing constant consequences that our actions have had on the environment, whether we know what they’re from or not. LeCain’s case study of mines in America is a fantastic example of this. In both of his case studies, LeCain has clearly highlighted how our actions can have negative consequences on our environment and in turn, on ourselves. Although many people believe that there are cures to these issues, the technological fixes we have been discussing this semester, these solutions are inherently temporary and don’t solve the actual problems we have been creating. Through time, we have been observing these technological fixes generate new problems, but these fixes were not created with that intention. Even in LeCain’s case studies he explains that he believes that those inventing the fixes actually believed that they had solved the issues to our environmental consequences but “…in retrospect, the technological fixes can be seen to have often disguised the full magnitude of the environmental problems and thus served to justify the continued operations of the smelter industry” (LeCain 150). Despite the engineer’s efforts to try and fix these environmental consequences with the three technological fixes that LeCain described, they did not have enough knowledge about what they would do in the end and therefore caused them to create “fixes” that were heavily flawed.
Although we do know that mining produces a lot of waste, determining whether we need copper and other minerals proves to be quite difficult. In my opinion, we-unfortunately-do still need these resources. Despite many advances in energy sources, copper is still one of the best conductors when it comes to getting this energy into people’s lives, such as all the copper wiring in our houses. Other minerals may not be as necessary. For example, going back to what I said about advances in energy resources, I do believe that it is not necessary for us to mine coal, and furthermore I believe it is unnecessary for us to mine for minerals that we consider valuable, such as those that are worn as jewelry. With all of that being said, I suppose I only partially agree with LeCain. His argument is that mining for these minerals was necessary for the industrial progress of the past but is presently not needed. Although I hope and have faith that we can and will move past these methods, I just don’t believe that these days have come quite yet.