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Thursday, April 29, 2010

tension between technology and environment

An excellent discussion piece last Monday at Yale360 on global scale ethical issues in mining & the environment.    Environmentally aware societies are the same ones that are highly technological, a combination that is inherently contradictory.  Newer, better, faster, and safer technology requires more elements to be harvested from Earth's bounty; yet it is those same societies that decry the necessary mining processes that lead to environmental damage.  The problem pointed out by the authors is that when we don't mine the metals we demand in our own backyards, they inevitably get mined somewhere else - in someone else's backyard, and more than likely in ways that are more damaging to the environment and less sensitive to negative impacts on local people.  It begs the question, what should we do?