Gold Mining: Environmental Destruction
Gold is history’s most coveted and celebrated element. For the Pharaohs of Egypt it had mystical status, functioning as the ultimate secular sacred object. The quest for gold propelled Columbus, Pizarro and others into a genocidal frenzy. Today gold mining, a major industry, continues unabated. And more often than not, indigenous people are affected. In the U.S., 70% of mining is on native lands. From Guyana to Kyrgyzstan, widespread use of cyanide is having major negative environmental consequences. And it’s not just an overseas problem. In Colorado, one cyanide spill killed a seventeen-mile stretch of the Alamosa River, leaving taxpayers with a $170 million cleanup bill.
Danny Kennedy became an environmental activist in his native Australia at the age of twelve when he participated in a movement that stopped the construction of a large dam. He is a founder of Project Underground, the Berkeley-based organization that works with indigenous communities threatened by the mining and oil industries. He is a producer for Australian Public Radio and a member of the Action for Solidarity and Equality in Environment and Development.