Tech-No-Logical-Fixes

In the past, we have seen a few common issues regarding technological fixes. The most common and most important issue being that of lack of holistic and “big picture” knowledge and understanding regarding the future implementations on these technological fixes. LeCain believes that the people who were coming up with these technological fixes at the time were ultimately doing a disservice to the environment. He believes they genuinely thought they were doing good for the environment due to their personal love of nature. However, he expressed concern as to how they were going about solving this issue. He felt there was something fundamentally wrong with the three methods of technological fixes: Transforming, Relocating and Delaying. In actuality however, they were doing more bad than good because the solutions they were implementing were masking the true detriment the mening practices were doing to the environment. Due to this, it it possible that we would have been better off without the technological fixes because companies at that time were beginning to create their own solutions to the problem. “[…]before the sulfuric acid solution was discovered, a number of copper smelters around the nation simply shut down or refused to process high-sulfur copper ore.” (LeCain p. 153)

While I personally would love to imagine a world where we do not depend on copper ore and other precious minerals, I don’t see how, at this point, we can get away without it. Like Harari said about the Agricultural revolution, we have gone too far. Even though these minerals may be doing more detriment to our environment than good, it is far too late to go back. LeCain argues that the only thing these technological fixes do is either, transform these chemicals into a slightly less toxic form, move the chemicals (or environmental issue) to another location and delay the time frame for which we expect to see he harmful results of our environmental neglect. While I agree with his theoretical point, in practice, there are some highly effective technological fixes implemented in our society today. My favorite example is the internal combustion engine. In the 1960’s, large metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles and Beijing had the air quality of a diseased lung and the invention and application of the catalytic converter has greatly improved our air quality. Unfortunately, the irony here is that perhaps LeCain is right. How do catalytic converters work? By using precious earth metals to convert harmful gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) into much safer natural elements like carbon dioxide (CO2). As hard as we try, our global society always seem to be doing good for the environment until the next study comes out. Perhaps LeCain is right, while I believe there are some safe applications for technological fixes, it’s possible that might be better without them in the long run.

2 thoughts on “Tech-No-Logical-Fixes”

  1. I really appreciate the comparison of mining and technological fixes to Harari’s analysis of the Agricultural Revolution. Looking back 10,000 years ago we wonder why people congregated into larger agricultural societies despite the increase in hard labor and decline in health it created. However, these results were not immediately apparent, and thus “progress” was driven forward. Today is very similar, and thousands of years from now society may look back, and with the benefit of hindsight, see us as insane. In our present state though, we are so wrapped up in our technology and science that there is little change of any regression taking place.

  2. I helped this guy write his blog, so he got all of my input. other then that he did a good job gathering information that applies to the topic at hand and piecing it togehter.

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