More Techno-Fixes or Less Mining?

Returning to the topic of technological fixes visited earlier in the year, author Timothy LeCain revisits this conservation topic and the role they play in solving problems created by mining. As stated by LeCain, there are three main types of techno-fixes, being the transformational techno-fix, the relocational techno-fix, and the delaying techno-fix. LeCain then expands on these three techno-fixes and the roles they have played in various places affected by mining, such as Ducktown, Tennessee and Butte, Montana. In both scenarios, LeCain observes that “all three types of techno-fixes ultimately resulted in other environmental problems, and they thus offer some insight into the strengths and limitations of the engineering and scientific methods used to create and evaluate techno-fixes”, illustrating his argument concerning techno-fixes (LeCain 139). While they may make the problem go away for a while or create a new one, techno-fixes usually aren’t effective combatants of the problems with the environment mining creates.

With this all being said, it is clear to see that mining is messy and produces a lot of waste, even with the valuable output it produces. Which begs the question, should we sacrifice the environment for the copper and other precious materials mines yield? In my opinion, I don’t think it would be possible to completely give up mining, even if it is harmful to the environment. Materials like copper are simply to essential to our every day lives to give up. For me, I see this as pretty similar to LeCain’s argument, who claims that “In many cases, however, simply avoiding certain ores or not mining and smelting at all may not have been a reasonable option”, showing how we do need to be more environmentally aware, but we also can’t sacrifice mining all together (LeCain 151).