Technology is made up of new and exciting inventions. I’m glad that I’ve grown up in an era where I have instant access to any information I may need. However, I’m not excited that my generation is having to deal with environmental issues left behind by the ghosts of mining’s past. Technology is meant to make life easier, unfortunately, technological fixes are frequently used as a bandage to environmental problems, i.e., if there are a lot of dangerous materials floating around a mine, they can be transferred to settling ponds where the arsenic and copper can’t escape and harm us… until a large storm comes along and sends the heavy metals in the pond back into creeks and fields. According to LeCain, there are three types of technological fixes used in the mining industry, transformational, relocational, and delaying techno-fixes. While those three types of technological fixes often offer an immediate solution to an environmental issue, “in retrospect the techno-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).
It seems that as soon as humans discovered what could be done with metal, there have been people willing to dig for a yellow or orange hunk of rock. Mining has been around for a long time and is likely to be around well into the future. I would love to say that because of the terrible effects mining has on the environment, we could just forget about copper, or coal, or iron, but we can’t. Our world runs on copper, electricity, and plumbing, and it doesn’t seem as though a better alternative has been discovered quite yet. Solar power comes close but isn’t quite developed yet. That being said, we should take what LeCain says into account. We need to recognize and take responsibility for the adverse effects that we cause. We can’t just use a band-aid to solve problems, the band-aid will always fall off in the end.