How we use Tech to escape the inescapable

  1. The three techno-fixes that LeCain uses in his argumentative analysis of two case studies are: the transformational, relocational, and delaying techno-fixes. In his first case study about the Southern Smoky Mountains, he details the environmental impacts of the large copper deposits that were mined; ultimately causing toxic water and smoke for the communities surrounding the mountains. The techno-fix that chemical engineers posited was to build a recovery system that converted sulfur dioxide gas into sulfuric acid (140). The first and second types of techno-fixes were used in this instance, transforming the noxious gas into a profitable product of fertilizer and then relocating it to other parts of the world (141). However, the stipulation that LeCain makes about this “fix” is that the distributed fertilizer ended up in streams, contaminating and destroying life in these water deposits and producing a secondary environmental effect (143). Anaconda Copper Mining Co. in Montana serves as LeCain’s second case study; the sulfur dioxide and arsenic released in the air caused many animal deaths. The techno-fix was a precipitator, similar to that of that used in the Ducktown case. They used the arsenic to make insecticides, causing a similar problem as before because arsenic cannot break down in soil but instead accumulates in the soil and is highly toxic to humans and animals (148). The delaying techno-fix is used in this case study because the company left the area, causing the arsenic to build up in the precipitator (149). This also caused a huge secondary environmental impact.
  2. I honestly do not think that we need to keep mining for copper and other minerals in our current period. We have created more problems for ourselves with our mining and ‘rehabilitation’ programs meant to aide in our mistakes. We should turn to clean energy and try to use what we have already mined as much as we can. I do agree with LeCain’s argument because techno-fixes do work, but they bring about even more issues that we cannot foresee. I do not know if there is a solution to the problems we have already created but I do know that we can alleviate some of the negative impacts if we cease our activities.