Evolution vs The Technological Fix

While Douthwaite is more optimistic towards the idea of a “technological fix” and how it is necessary to solve social problems, the other authors would say he is missing the bigger picture. Douthwaite’s main argument is that technology can help solve social problems temporarily, thus giving humanity time to find a solution to the original problem before the consequences catch up. He states that, “Perhaps in recognizing this fact we can survive and better enjoy the best of both worlds”(Douthwaite 32). The other authors, Huesemann and Johnston, would agree that these fixes would only give us time, and that the consequences would catch up. However, they would most likely disagree with his overall ideas because we are already running out of time. To continue solving problems temporarily, while very well knowing we are only buying ourselves time, is ignorant. As stated in one of the readings, “Payment of this price cannot be avoided. It can only be delayed. The present environmental crisis is a warning that we have delayed nearly too long” (Huesemann 8).


There are many different reasons why fixes to social and environmental systems have negative repercussions. First of all, we are only looking for a solution to theses problems; we are not taking everything in when deciding how we should best handle the issue. When the U.S. started using pesticides to get rid of insects and increase crop output, the environmental issues pesticides would later cause were ignored or not even thought of. This is a perfect example of humanity looking for a technological fix, and being left with negative repercussions. Second, unlike all the organism on this planet that have gone through billions years of evolution, new sciences and technologies only go through short research and development before being used in the natural world. This creates a large issue because these other organisms have never been in contact and have not adapted to these fixes. These unintended consequences only leave us with more problems that seem to be almost impossible to solve, but does this mean we shouldn’t use technology to fix our problems? I believe if we wish to continue to use technology to solve our problems, we must take everything as a whole, because everything is connected. We cannot continue to just look for a quick fix, we have to realize that not just one problem can be solved at a time. If what some of these authors say is true, that we are already out of time and cannot delay any longer, we may have no choice, but to try and use technology in a new way without creating more negative repercussions. If we keep using technology in the same way, the problems will become too much for us to handle, and it will be our demise.