There May Be A Day When Man Forsakes His Copper!

LeCain’s argument in describing the three types of technological fixes is that we must make sure we are fixing and preventing problems rather than covering them up. He talks about fixes we use. We transform materials, we relocate them, or we delay dealing with them. None of which really solve the problem (LeCain, 138). LeCain talks about heap roasting and the arsenic that results in deaths due to separating and mining copper ore. Both of the case studies he presents reap similar results. In heap roasting they transformed the poisonous sulfur dioxide gas into sulfuric acid. That, then, slipped into water supplies and killed fish in waterways (140-142). LeCain uses this as an example of a transformative technological fix. There were similar results when arsenic from mining was not treated in Anaconda. It seeped into the groundwater and killed livestock. This, LeCain believes is an example of the delay of a technological fix (LeCain, 144-145). Because it was important to keep mining copper and avoid producing an abundance of life-threatening gas, the arsenic was captured and turned into pesticides (LeCain, 145). LeCain uses example to demonstrate the transformation and relocation of materials as a technical fix. He points out the problems in our collection of materials and the hazards involved. Additionally, he makes a point about trying to solve problems in a haphazardly manner.

I think copper and other materials are important to the world today. Copper is pervasive in our households and is a major conductor of electricity. Right now, we do need copper and other minerals to produce new and better materials. Maybe there will be a day when we will be able to come up with a fix for these issues and replacements that aren’t harmful. However, in order to perform that research, we need to be able to run labs. Nonetheless, I think we should be working to make the mining process less wasteful and harmful to those involved.  I like LeCain’s argument and he is absolutely right to point out all of the problems involved in mining. I think we are struggling to find solutions while we continue to pile onto our own issues.

5 thoughts on “There May Be A Day When Man Forsakes His Copper!”

  1. Hi Amanda!
    Great blog post! I definitely agree with you that copper and other materials are very important to the world today. Our society relies on copper for power, water suppler and not mining and smelting copper is not really a realistic option. Scientists and engineers should be able to come up with better fixes, because making a technological fix that delays the problems is not the way to go.

  2. Hi, Amanda!
    I agree with your statement that copper and other materials we mine are important to society today–after all, our world would be dramatically different. I think our best and brightest will come up with safer ways to continue these inventions without the harmful waste they leave on the Earth, but this will most likely be in the far future. I also agree with the way you say that we continue to pile more and more issues onto our shoulders. Perhaps if we slow down and focus more, things might get done more efficiently (but that’s just my opinion).

  3. I think you’re right about the fact that stopping mining isn’t really an option today and that instead of stopping, we should be considering how to make mining easier on the environment. Copper is too important for us to just stop using it, and until we find an alternative for it, and possibly for mining, we will be stuck having to continue this process that’s incredibly hard on our environment. LeCain’s article about how much damage we’re really doing to the environment is just an eye-opener/ the first step. Since we know how we’re harming the environment we now need to slow down and think about how we can change things so we can stop killing our planet.

  4. I definitely agree with your second point about how copper is incredibly important today. We use copper for way to many things to stop mining them at the moment. Maybe one day we will have a legitimate solution to this problem, but like you said we would have to run a bunch of tests to come up with that solution, which also had the potential to harm the planet. I also agree that we should be working towards finding a way to make mining a little less harmful to the environment.

  5. Hello,
    I agree with your statement on how important there minerals have been/ are essential parts of our society. i do, however, believe that a future without mining is closer than we may think. I can’t say for sure, but I would at least hope that science is progressing enough to have more environmentally-friendly substitutes for these minerals. That being said, who knows if 50 years in the future those are found to have disastrous impacts on the earth. There are many aspects to think about when addressing this issues and it becomes very complicated.

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