Techno-Fix This

LeCain’s argument, brought up in his writing, “When Everybody Wins Does the Environment Lose?” discusses both sides of the argument, as stated in his writing, both the pessimistic and optimistic views (LeCain, pg. 138). This is an important stance to take, because he looks at the ways the environment has been impacted, but also the way certain countries, such as The United States and Japan, reduced the amount of pollution after World War I (LeCain, pg. 137-138). The first case study on Ducktown was an interesting read when looking into techno-fixes. At first, it seems like a win-win situation for people and the environment, but as you look closer at the complete cycle of the sulfuric dioxide, you will see it is not much better than the original issues that it was causing (LeCain, pg. 141). Initially, it is easy to see how the solution would be considered good, but as you look at the trail from dioxide, to acid, to farmer’s fields, where it was being over-used and pooling into run-off sources, you see that it is still causing damage to the environment by harming the aquatic life in the area (LeCain, pg.141). In the second case study, on the Deer Lodge Valley, it is important to recognize the role that money plays in this process. After President Roosevelt was concerned with the amount of arsenic poisoning the trees, cattle, and people in the valley, changes had to be made in order to lessen the amount of pollution the Anaconda Company was creating (LeCain, pg. 145-148). After these changes were made, the Anaconda Company looked for any way to profit off of their toxic waste, finding ways to earn money, similar with the case of Ducktown (LeCain pg. 146). After looking into all this information, LeCain summarizes by stating that the environmental rules and changes are a step in the right direction, but there is more that needs to be done (LeCain, pg. 151).
I believe that we do need these mines, and even if we need the materials less than we exploit them, there is no slowing down the demands that humans currently have. I agree with LeCains argument, in that these techno-fixes can be helpful, and lead to the right next step, but they feel slow moving and unproductive. Quicker steps to a healthier system would be the greatest benefit, but that is not a current option for the way things are going right now. I think LeCain was thinking wisely when he explained that the Ducktown fix combined techniques, because that seems like an excellent way to lessen the problem.

3 thoughts on “Techno-Fix This”

  1. I agree that we need mines but I am not sure if mixing types of technological fixes will fix it. I think that the issue with combining types is that it will be a short term fix with even more complicated and complex consequences. Although Le Cain does delve into both the positive and negative consequences associated with technological fixes, I think that he definitely has a more difficult time supporting the positives. Overall I really liked reading your blog post and appreciated the difference between our viewpoints and interpretation of Le Cain’s piece.

  2. I completely agree that finding the correct techno-fix that shares both ideals by efficiently preventing harm along with allowing mines to keep operating is extremely difficult. Thinking of new inventions, to me, is extremely hard because of the millions of inventions made over the course of human history. New inventions have to also be nurtured by the best environment for thinking and experimenting, along with much free time. Copper will be needed for power probably my entire lifetime, but there are new renewable energy technologies that help reduce the human impact on the planet. So my question to these large mining corporations that continue mining for elements that are not directly needed for human use, at what cost to the environment does the mining actually cease?

  3. I really like the sentiment you express on this post. I think it’s easy to commit to a side that technological fixes are either the solution to all our problems, or inherently useless distractions, but I think it’s much harder to say that both sides might be right, or wrong. For whatever reason, your last paragraph reminded me of The Martian if you’ve ever seen it, and more specifically his last quote at the end. He talks about fixing a small problem, and then another small problem, and so on until the bigger problem is fixed. My point is, I think that’s the mindset we need to adopt in regards to these technological fixes. Almost always they’ll only be one small part of a problem, and I think if we just be patient eventually these numerous small solutions will equate to a much larger solution.

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