El Salvador just banned all metal mining to save its environment and people. It is the first country to make such a precedent-setting move.
Most mining projects greatly damage the livelihoods and lifestyle of rural people, contaminating their water, their soil, and often cutting away large swaths of earth to extract metals like aluminum, silver, gold, etc. Often the corporations who run billion-dollar mining projects are from the U.S. or U.K., and have little concern over the welfare of the local community while they are there or after they have extracted their metals and gone.
Governments, motivated by economic growth, have established a legal framework to attract foreign investments to extract mining resources, but they often do so after placing insiders within local governments who have the best interest of the corporations in mind, not the local people. Land grants that protect endangered animals, or indigenous cultures are often simply ignored. This is one reason why El Salvador’s move to ban all metal mining is simply astounding.
The new law bans “prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador.”
The people who work in metal mines as well as those who live innocently in the surrounding area usually exposed to copious amounts of mercury. Animal habitats are also ruined, often depleting local biodiversity, and stripping away mineral-rich farmland which native cultures survive on.
“This is more than just a novelty,” said the president of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, Mauricio Sermeno, “It is a law that is necessary in the face of an industry which, far from bringing any benefit to communities, brings serious pollution to water sources and the environment.”
Other South and Central American countries are resisting the power of mining companies as well.
Rural communities in Guatemala are challenging mining projects by Goldcorp of Canada and two U.S. firms, Tahoe Resources and Kappes, Cassidy & Associates (KCA), and Nicaragua has rejected projects by Canadian company B2 Gold.
The social costs of having a gold or metal mining job is almost too exorbitant to pay, yet the poorest workers in these areas often think they have no other choice.
Even an unlikely report from the World Bank says that local people often aren’t given the true “cost” of what a mining project will do to their town once the water, soil, and biodiversity is stripped away in the process. Moreover, once the project is completed, the jobs it temporarily created also go, as the projects are not sustainable.
“No matter how many toys we amass we leave them behind when we die, just as we leave a broken environment, an economy that only benefits the richest, and a legacy of empowering greed over goodness. It is now time to commit to following a new path.”
It is incredibly heart-warming to see that El Salvador is finding the strength to follow that path.
About the Author
Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, Nexus, Atlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.
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