They Used To Use Birds As Death Timers, Just FYI

As was it was put on page 38 of the reading from LeCain, ” As mines began to sink thousands of feet below the surface, the problem of subterranean flooding, heat, and ventilation grew ever more challenging…early life support systems were an extraordinary engineering achievement and they eventually permitted miners to survive and work in the harsh environments more than a mile beneath the earth.”  Not long after mining became more industrial in the Americas, it became far more dangerous, and new technologies needed to be created just for workers to survive long enough to harvest materials. They used carbon dioxide filtering masks when the air was no longer breathable and they pumped the water that seeped into deep mines, though that did nothing to help the poor humid air quality. People were no longer able to survive independently within these working environments. They constantly relied on these support systems for their lives, and any failure could be catastrophic. It was an exceptionally dangerous job. People who wished to begin mining in an area also had to “manag[e] underground space” (43) to do their job, but, they inevitably ended up ignoring the surface topography and all of its ecosystems in order to just focus on what was below- which meant that mining was easily able to kill its workers, as well as the natural environment all around.
It seems unlikely that mining can ever truly safe for anyone who has to travel into the mines. That risk could be mitigated by building machines which can do the work in place of people, but there is always going to be some people who have to work closer with the mine than others, and they will still be at risk. It should also be a requirement that mining needs to be monitored for having a wider view of the potential impact of said mining. Not every eventuality can truly be accounted for, but there are ways to at least slightly reduce the risk to the natural environment during the process with enough maintenance and preplanning. And then after the project is complete, any issues that do come up will likely do some damage before we are aware of it, but with enough diligence, it could be minimized by quick rectification. We have a vested interest in keeping the world both habitable and enjoyable, and that means taking care of it, so since mining isn’t going to be stopping, that means we can’t stop cleaning up after it either.

2 thoughts on “They Used To Use Birds As Death Timers, Just FYI”

  1. I thought you did an excellent job with your blog post on mining! I agree with you that it does seem unlikely that mining can ever be a truly safe endeavor. There are so many potentially dangerous and hazardous aspects to mining, that it’s probably close to impossible to make mining safe for everyone involved. I especially liked how you ended your blog post by saying that because mining isn’t likely to stop, the clean up that comes with mining won’t ever stop either. I thought that was a really powerful note to end your post on. Certainly makes you think about human priorities, and how the majority of humanity would rather just continue on doing what we’ve always done (and continue to deal with the consequences) rather than come up with a different plan of action. These two articles that were read for this week really make you think about the decisions that humanity has made, and just keeps on making with mining. I really enjoyed reading your insights about the repercussions of mining, good post!

  2. First I would like to say I came here specifically because the entire time I read this article, I thought about the birds being used as death timers.
    Second, I totally agree with the idea that mining can never really be a safe endeavor. There is so many different risks that come mining and I truly don’t think you can ever prevent every issue and risk that comes with the mining. I also like how in-depth you went with your first paragraph. I reread this article twice and was incredibly tired both times so I guess I missed some important information with it.

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