Fool me twice, pollution on me.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but how many rights does it take to fix one wrong. According to LeCain, when it comes to technological fixes in the environment, we could be continuously passing around toxic waste and not make a solid impact on the pollution that humans produce. In his essay from The Technological Fix, he gave three different kinds of techno-fixes that were used for environmental issues like pollution. The Ducktown Tennessee smelter was the first example he used to show how to perform transformational and relocation techno-fixes. Because the Ducktown smelter product deadly sulfur dioxide that was destroying the beautiful mountains and wildlife, the state of Georgia was granted the right to shut it down (LeCain 2013, 140). Instead of doing so, they allowed them to remove the sulfur from the smoke and produce sulfuric acid, which is a form of a transformational techno-fix. They then sold the sulfuric acid to a fertilizer manufacture as a form of a relocation techno-fix to supposedly clean up the entire mess. That combined process in itself only put off the environmental damage of farmland and lake algae. Because it was unsuccessful one could say it was more of a delaying technological fix. Bring it back to LeCain main point, “All three types of techno-fixes ultimately result in other environmental problems” (LeCain 2013, 139).


LeCain’s analysis of mining’s effects on the environment might raise enough cause to simply not mine copper that requires damaging processes, yet “simply avoiding certain ores or not mining and smelting at all might have not been a realistic option” (LeCain 2013, 151). It seems his overall point is that techno-fixes have humbled the scientific community and there ability to control our environment. Though now knowing of our failures that we must simply move forward and try again. Reading this myself, I get the feeling that it is possible to find an actual techno-fix for pollution and not once again backlash in our faces.

2 thoughts on “Fool me twice, pollution on me.”

  1. I really like how you introduce your blog post. In simple words, it talks about long term consequences on the environment that can result from mining. I thought your point about the possibility of finding a technological fix that didn’t have any negative side effects was really interesting. It certainly made me think about whether that’s possible or not. Maybe in the future, we’ll look back at the types of technological fixes that we currently use and be shocked and horrified that we called them “fixes” at all. I would like to think that we will be able to come up with a way to use technological fixes in a way that doesn’t do any more harm than has already been done (ie, a delayed technological fix, which can cause further damage), but I’m just not sure if that’s possible in the near future. So often now, technological fixes (and the research behind them) are sponsored by companies who aren’t necessarily concerned about the environment and how to prevent problems, but just how to fix the problems that have been caused by their products, like the mining industry. I enjoyed reading your blog post, good job!

  2. Hi Anthony!
    Clever way to start off your post, I think you make a very good point in addressing how the techno-fixes mentioned in LeCain’s argument require many “rights” to solve the initial problem. You also did a solid job of highlighting LeCain’s argument. The problem I guess I have, not necessarily with your post but with LeCain’s argument about the techno-fix resulting in environmental problems as you quoted, is that yes the problems may be facilitated by these attempted solutions, but the people who smelted at Ducktown didn’t invent the use of fertilizer, just like the people containing the arsenic in Deer Lodge didn’t invent pesticides or timber preservation. The point is that these issues aren’t inherently because of the techno-fixes that have been applied, but maybe they’ve been made worse by them. I really like the positive tone you bring in at the end, saying you think we can move on, learn from our mistakes, and find a solution that works. I very much agree, and I think there’s hope for the Technological Fix yet. Nice post overall!

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