With an Eye to the Past

As explained by LeCain, the industrial push in the United States, especially with the creation of and demand for electricity and forms of power to support the booming industrial structure of the country, called for and facilitated investment in innovation for more efficient and effective collection of natural resources (LeCain, p. 27). These natural resources included a plethora of various types of minerals which then required power from even other resources to collect and fabricate in to something useful. In particular, the invention of the lightbulb and the widespread use of indoor electricity truly spurred a demand for natural resources such as coal, iron, and copper. This demand was so high and profitable that it left no room for contemplation or regard for possible consequences. Destruction of the earth through these underground mining processes, the techniques used to sort and clean minerals as well as the lack of reconstruction of areas led to dangerous conditions both for workers and those in the surrounding area with contaminated soils, air and water.

First of all, in order to address the issues of mining, corporations and mines must actually accept the reality of the damage that comes from their techniques. From there, policies, that are enforced by third parties, must be implemented from the very beginning of a mine, during its time of production and for years to follow. While there are groups that exist solely to hold mines accountable, there is a huge struggle regarding the logistics of enforcing these rules, projecting thoroughly enough in to the future and ensuring that these private corporations are not able to find a loophole whether with new technology or within their own rights as private entities. Undoubtedly, mines must find a way to be safe both to humans and the environment as to not deplete other natural resources or effect the health of the people in surrounding areas. Without planning and protections to ensure sustainability and health in the future, what is the collection and use of natural resources truly good for now?