Putting the Smoke in Smoky Mountains

For Lecain the three types of techno-fixes are the transformational, relocational, and the delay techno-fix. Most of the techno-fixes are a culmination of two of these kinds. Many times these “fixes” often lead to even larger problems. He notes that people can “easily point to past examples of techno-fixes gone wrong leading many to believe that such supposed solutions often result in further negative consequences”( Lecain, 137). Many times the solution to the environmental problems often lead to even bigger problems. Engineers that worked for the mining companies had to balance public perception and economic future of their company, the Tennessee Copper Company. He brings up the Smoky Mountain techno-fix after many residents were complaining about sulfur dioxide smoke that “… transformed what once had been a ‘beautiful, mountainous, and heavily wooded’ landscape into a barren wasteland” (Lecain, 140). The miner engineers had to find a way to reduce the sulfur dioxide that was released into the air, the techno-fix was converting the sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid, though which later got turned into fertilizer, which brings more problems for the environment. The problems that this techno-fix only lead to more problems for more people rather than just the inhabitants of Ducktown area. 

Knowing that mining produces waste, people still need copper and other minerals for computers and other technology. Copper is one of the most conductive metals, which is important for computers and cell phones. Our society is very dependent on technology, so we need mining. I find Lecain’s argument interesting and provocative. Many times the engineers and chemists have to balance profit and morality, and dependent on the person’s ethics. The consequences of the engineers actions are important to saving and protecting the environment.

1 thought on “Putting the Smoke in Smoky Mountains”

  1. Mr. Lunsford,

    You have done an excellent job of summarizing the more complex and analytical elements of LeCain’s argument, and presenting them in a concise, understandable manner. I would agree with your assessment that environmental fixes are only temporary and inevitably cause more long-lasting and complicated effects upon the environment.

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