The Techno-Fix: When when everyone loses

“In retrospect the techno-fixes can be seen to have often disguised the full magnitude of the environmental problems and thus served to justify the continued operations of the smelter industry. (LeCain, pg. 150) I think this simple statement sums up LeCain’s argument concerning techno-fixes. LeCain believes that techno-fixes never fully prevent the environment from being impacted. Instead, he argues that techno-fixes deflect environmental issues by sending it to another type of issue. LeCain lists three ways techno-fixes produce this the first is the transformational techno-fix. This type of solution takes the pollutant or waste product of mining and turns it into another resource such as fertilizer. This product however often ends up being a pollutant itself. The next is the relocation techno fix. This fix takes the source or product of the pollutant and removes said source and sends it to another location. Thus this techno-fix solves the locational pollution but sends it to another region, eventually not solving the issue at all. The third techno-fix is the delaying techno-fix which instead of preventing the present pollutant at hand instead freezes it from continuing. This solution however tends to escalate and become a worsening issue as time progresses. All three of these techno-fixes attempt to solve the surface level or existent problems but end up leaving worse problems further down the road.


The question, if the products of mining are worth the consequences is a tough one to answer. There are too many factors that often make this question too complex to answer. During the industrializing of the world, copper and other resources were crucial in expanding our ability to further technology but now a century later we see the dramatic consequences of such action. But, I cannot say that those consequences outweigh the technological and societal benefits of industrialization. I think LeCain’s argument is incredibly compelling since it explains the consequences of our actions, but it does not convince me that.

Leave a Reply