I’m guessing pretty much everyone in this class knows something about the detrimental history of mining, and the shit-show mining left our environment starring in. However, I don’t think most of us can relate to what a hopeful time this was for our people. Mining was basically the exploration of space during that era. It was a whole other world, suited with otherworldly challenges and obstacles the miners and their engineers had to face. As I was reading I categorized the challenged faced by miners into two groups. One group was external influences, the other was suitability for extended hours of human labor. The first group was pretty much not if, but how. How do we mine deep beneath the earth? This questions brought up things like stability of the structures within the tunnels and how to even get down there. It started with hydraulic mining, and developed into deeper and deeper mining. They first had to excavate and dig big holes where they thought could be a promising deposit, and then they had to build supports to keep the earth from collapsing and get rid of unwanted groundwater with pumps . After figuring that out it was pretty much on to suitability. This brought up issues like clean and constant air supply, light, toxicity and gas, transportation through mines (ICE), and the heat. Heat was combatted through large fans, air was brought in numerous ways including more advanced oxygen contraptions that were more like helmets that worked like diving tanks, this also mainly eradicated the issues of non-breathable gasses. The breathing contraptions proved to be one of the most important things created by mining engineers. It allowed otherwise inhabitable and unworkable terrain to now be conquered, it also allowed for emergency workers to reach people in the mines if need be, and it brought the mining industry leaps ahead. You’d think the greatest inventions would be the ones to make things possible, but some of the best inventions are things that make tasks easier and more complex at the same time.
Let me just start off with I don’t think mining will ever be sustainable for humans, ever, ever, ever. And ask how it is so easy to be against something morally or inside our brains that we know is bad for the environment but it is actually so difficult and inconvenient to then cut it out of our lives. We are trapped.. Maybe. Anyways, I think that as a culture we have a tendency to look back on the horrible things we did to the environment without any forethought and be like “oh shit”. It has happened many times in the history of the United States and the world. We do these things, not necessarily knowing their outcomes and almost every time it seems to be detrimentally effecting the environment and then we continue to do said thing because it funds our economy. I think that the dangers and the issues that come with mining could potentially be addressed before the mine begins, and the outcomes could potentially be minimized… But I don’t think that just because we sit down and talk about how shitty the outcome might be and try to do damage control doesn’t make it a solution. I don’t think that mining will ever be sustainable for the earth ever. I think that it is heavily embodied in our culture and it is being utilized for good and is creating good things in the world, but I don’t think that is is suitable for our planet or our people or our plants or our animals.