Saturday, March 14, 2015

Impacts of Mining Projects: What can be done

There are a few ways that people on an individual level can reduce the environmental impacts of mining, including:

Reducing the consumption of minerals
 
All types of consumer goods such as cell phones, cars, appliances, other electronics, etc. are examples of products that utilize materials manufactured due to mining. The production of goods and services, today, require over eighty tons of natural resources annually, per person, including materials from mining. One way to limit the effects of mining on the environment is to simply consume less, so that less minerals are needed to build products. This can be achieved through a more efficient use of resources, and also by simply using less and recycling more. The phrase reduce, reuse, and recycle has never had more of a necessity for adherence than today, as consumption levels of natural resources are expected to rise in the future. Reduce by avoiding buying what you do not need. Reuse by buying used items, and actually use what you already have. Recycle by actually recycling. Private industries have very little incentive to improve their environmental practices. Our consumption choices can encourage and support good environmentally friendly behavior. 

Increasing conscientiousness 

Be aware of potential mining projects in your state, or for others fighting against large mining companies. Our Canadian neighbors, for example, hold the headquarters of 75% of the worlds mining companies. On a more local note, Oregon too has a considerable number of active mines. Support thoughtful innovators in manufacturing and production. Voting is taking public action and is one of the most important measures a person can take. Political engagement enables the spread of environmentally conscious policies and government regulation. There is a global need for a campaign to end mining activities. There are protests all over the world happening already. 

An example of a successful protest campaign

Pebble mine is a huge mining battle that has been happening in the state of Alaska. If built would cover over 20 square miles of state land in the Bristol Bay watershed, and would be one of the largest mines in the world. Pebble mine would be located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, which are two of the eight major rivers that feed Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is one of the few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that runs an extremely high risk of being polluted. Many people throughout the state have been involved in the protest to stop this enormous project and to protect the Bay. With lots of time and effort, concerned citizens, fishermen, lawyers, and others, put a halt to the work on Pebble mine in 2014. To keep a mine project of this scale inoperative, a continuation of work and efforts will be necessary in the future. 


The most important reason to get involved is to be an advocate for the environment and for yourself. Take the time to learn about issues in your local area. This will be the gateway to larger issues, such as mines, that do affect the public. Activism is a quality that each person should possess, not necessarily on a large scale, but the examples given above are things that most everyone can do. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and educate yourself on local environmental issues. These are simple yet powerful actions that have positive reverberations that can lead to a better tomorrow. 


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Added by Mary Painter


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