Confronting a multiple pandemic
“Gold fever” was perhaps the most widespread epidemic of the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Unquestionably it prevailed as a plague, with consequences that mirror similar bouts of the age, but now stand comparison with the ravages of corona virus.
Herds of men and beasts, conveying life-threatening diseases, imposed land-theft and natural resources depletion (of water, land, food, existing infrastructure and cultural norms, educational provisions, et al) on an unprecedented scale. Just within the past few months, while Covid-19 has served to destroy or significantly diminish the fortune of some companies, others are thriving again. And this isn’t despite the rise of this fresh “fever”, but due to it.
Some researchers are now re-emphasising the manifold benefits of natural” rewilding” for human health and well-being. This means we need to expose ourselves to more biodiversity, be in touch with a wide variety of plant life, not just manicured, artificial lawns, says India’s Vidyadhar Date.
Mining company responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have received little scrutiny compared to other industries seeking to profit from this crisis.
The mining industry and numerous governments are taking advantage of the pandemic to manufacture new economic opportunities and establish a positive public image for extractivism.
However, such actions pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of communities and those who have struggled to defend public health and the environments for decades, as well as to the safety of workers.
Governments around the world have taken extraordinary measures to shutdown legitimate protests and promote the mining sector. Meanwhile, some mining companies are permitted to continue operating in these same territories, despite justifiable state restrictions.
The pandemic is being used by these businesses as a cover for their dirty track records and to present themselves as public-minded benefactors. While they frame mining as essential now and for global post-COVID-19 economic recovery, they are lobbying to expedite administrative decisions and weaken the already-limited measures which do exist to address the social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of their activities that are almost always borne by affected communities.
Covid-19 has 77 articles2021-02-04 Uranium mining and COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation
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2020-11-30 ReSisters Dialogue Statement on the International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders
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2020-11-01 Coal Magnate Bob Murray Dies at 80
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2020-07-02 Yukon First Nation condemns miners' "free entry" to its territory
2020-06-22 Ecuadorian Civil society organisations condemn Canadian Ambassador
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2020-06-11 DR Congo: Mineworkers suffer while pits remain open
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2020-05-24 Philippines mining during COVID: Protest and concern under quarantine
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2020-04-26 Papua New Guinea refuses lease extension for Barrick's Porgera mine
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2020-04-10 US organisations demand temporary halt in mining activities
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Asia: Impacts of COVID-19 lockdown on indigenous, pastoralist and rural women in mining areas