Colombia bans mining in country’s vast moorlands
As of December 2015, there were at least 340 mining concessions in Colombia’s paramo, also known as alpine tundra. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Environmentally, mining is a dichotomy. On the one hand, we want to protect our planet; on the other hand we need sub-surface resources to maintain and improve our standards of living.
Look around you. Nearly everything you see requires material resources to manufacture, maintain and operate.
Exploitation of our world’s resources isn’t going to disappear anytime soon – if ever. But how we globally manage such utilisation of natural riches is far more important than ever before as populations grow and technology increasingly requires more of our earth’s resources.
This may be aided by:
- Ensuring that exploitation licenses are limited to less sensitive environments – Columbia is to be praised for their decision.
- Ensuring that exploitation organisations issue mandatory and enforceable environmental and remediation promises to protect land and people and to ensure that after resources are depleted, land and people are returned to pre-disturbance conditions.
- Ensure that authorisation, monitoring and enforcing agencies are powerful, efficient, funded, competent, honest,fair and effective.
We all have a role to play in this even if only to bring to light unacceptable exploitation activity and to publicly congratulate environmentally sensible decisions and endeavours.
What to do about existing exploitation is different question! And equally as important.