Technological Trix

Right off the bat, LeCain claims that the three technological fixes “…ultimately resulted in other environmental problems, and they thus offer some insight into the strengths and limitations of the engineering and scientific methods used to create and evaluate techno-fixes.” (Pg. 139) Initially, I think anyone would assume that miners continued to harm the environment through their technological fixes in order to further their profit, but research showed that many of the miners had a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature. (Pg. 139) LeCain talks about dying farmland and animals that came along with arsenic pollution, and sulfur dioxide fumes produced when smelting copper. Not only were there environmental problems, but relationships between farmers and smelters were also filled with conflict as they both interfered with the livelihood of the other in various ways. LeCain continues to give examples of how technological fixes went terribly wrong throughout the whole chapter. In the end, he concluded that “the Ducktown and Anaconda case studies thus suggest we should regard environmental techno0fixes with some caution. The modern prejudice against such technological solutions appears to be, at least in part, historically justified…”(pg. 150)


It is pretty clear that we should be cautious when faced with a new technological fix, but how are we supposed to do that? Should we have committees created for the sole purpose of evaluating technological fixes, and what degree of harm to the environment and humans is too severe? I think it would be really hard to convince people that we don’t need copper and other minerals, even with all of the evidence of the harm these minerals have caused. I wish we could eliminate mining and all the problems that come with it, but it is unlikely. I do agree with LeCain’s argument though when he says that we must approach techno-fixes with caution. It seems like common sense at this point, to approach technological fixes with caution, after seeing techno-fixes go wrong for so many years.


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