The Unfortunate Need for Mining

LeCain argues that the three types of technofixes are simply techniques designed to extend the amount of time we get to try and solve the problem. These techniques do not actually fix any problems. They only delay them, or move them to a different, sometimes unknown location. These are quick fixes to problems that are causing immediate damage, and these technological fixes only delay the damage. Engineers of the time thought they were helping to solve environmental problems, as most of them loved nature, unfortunately they didn’t have the hind sight to see the future problems they were creating. This can be seen in this quote “the mining engineers tended to view both the industrial and natural world in terms of their technological knowledge and abilities. Environmental issues were studied and understood only insofar as they affected the operation of complex technological systems.” (LeCain, p. 139)


I hate to come to the determination whether I think we need copper or other minerals simply because they produce waste. We live in a throw away culture, where almost every item in our lives is disposable and will be thrown away without consideration. Unfortunately, I don’t think we could continue a lifestyle that looks remotely like today without copper or other minerals. Yes, I think mining is terrible for the environment, and yes, I think we can do a better job of producing these minerals with a more environmentally healthy mindset. Mining is a lot like the agricultural revolution, where we as humans have trapped ourselves into it. We depend on mining for everything in our lives and can’t continue without it. LeCain argues that technological fixes don’t work in the long run, therefore we need to stop mining. I would like to think we have learned our lesson from the engineers of the past and will be able to develop permanent mitigating factors, so mining can continue in such a manner it doesn’t destroy nature.

1 thought on “The Unfortunate Need for Mining”

  1. Hi David!

    I really like your comment about how mining is like the agricultural revolution, in that in ways it has increased our potential and abilities, but has at the same time put us in a sort of trap wherein nearly our entire lifestyle is based off of the products from mining. We are addicted to power, specifically in this case electricity. The bummer is that even renewables, such as solar panels or wind turbines, still need materials usually acquired from mining in order to be build, such as copper for wind turbines, and silicon for solar panels. Not to mention the power grid itself is wired together via copper wires and cables. I guess the question is, if we want electricity in our lives, does that require us to mine resources and usually by extension harm the earth? Can we have electricity without leaving a toxic hole somewhere?

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