The Big Three

As LeCain discusses in his piece, there are three basic techno-fixes. The first fix is the “transformational techno-fix” which takes a negative material and turns into a material that could be considered not as bad. The second is the “relocation techno-fix” which is where a material causing harm locally, is moved to another area where it may or may not be useful, but it is out of the area of concern. The third and final basic techno-fix is the “delaying techno-fix.” This one is a little more complicated to look at, but it is when a harmful material is used for something or placed in some location that it is not presently a concern. The first case study LeCain looked at was the transformational and relocation techno-fix of the Tennessee Copper Company, in Ducktown, turning sulfur dioxide into sulfuric acid and selling it south where manufacturers used it to make superphosphate fertilizer. This fertilizer was then sold to farms all across North America and Europe where excess eventually made its way into streams and rivers. LeCain also talks about Frederick G. Cottrell’s electrostatic precipitator which was an invention meant to filter arsenic particulates out of smelter stacks. All three types of techno-fixes were demonstrated by the Washoe complex in Deer Lodge Valley as they took this removed arsenic into timber preserve and sold it to insecticide production companies.

“Environmental improvements in one area have clearly resulted in increased degradation in other areas or in the postponement of damages to later eras,” (LeCain 150). Reading LeCain’s explanation, I must say I agree. We can use these honest attempts at environmental fixes to demonstrate how “techno-fixes” are not enough and there we need to have complete fixes. This is because I do believe copper and other minerals are necessary but severely damage the environment.

2 thoughts on “The Big Three”

  1. Thanks for your summary of LeCain’s ideas about techno-fixes. I too believe it is very important that we don’t just take techno-fixes as a cure all solution, especially when they’re being developed in a very limited sector. I am curious to what you mean by “complete fixes”. Would these be just more thought out technologies or do you suggest something else such as cultural change to better fix some of these wicked problems? I certainly agree that right now techno-fixes seem very reduced in their scope of understanding for the larger systems at work but if the research of these technologies could be more holistically aware I also believe we could create exceptional ideas and maybe technologies which assist us in attaining the relationship we hope to have with our world in the future.

  2. Good response here, however I think you could touch a bit more on how technological advances allow underground mining to occur and the consequences are of these technologies. It seems like you have a really good grasp on why these techno fixes aren’t sustainable, and it seems like you also touch on an actual working techno-fix, but I would like to see the two connected a bit more.

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