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what a valuable world

January 30, 2012

Economics are at the bottom of everything- But should they be? I was deeply troubled by the report today that an environmentalist had been robbed at gunpoint in El Salvador

It seems that someone doesn’t want anyone to protest against the mining of metals. Let’s just think about this for a moment, we find it easy and convenient to use metal for all sorts of everyday things, including tin cans. Usually our metal stuff in relatively cheap, so we are happy to buy a tin or beans or tomatoes – and unless we have been persuaded that it is just as easy to recycle that to throw into landfill we chuck that can away without a second thought!

However we never pay the environmental cost of digging this stuff out of the ground in the first place, I heard somewhere that it takes an average of 1 ton of spoil to dig out enough ore to make a tin can. I may be wrong on the actual amount, but nonetheless digging out ore is an expensive process – not to the mining company, but to the planet and those who live nearby.

Their landscape is spoilt – for ever. No more beautiful views to show children or grandchildren.

The biodiversity is ruined as precious plants are ripped out and habitats destroyed.

Widespread pollution will almost inevitably follow as dust and production fumes are released into the atmosphere.

property values and the ability for people to get satisfying employment are likely to follow.

Just imagine what opposition there would be to this if it took place in the UK, think how much more damaging mining is than, say HS2. For the El Salvadorian campaigner this is a matter that is very important, even if land, heath, and wellbeing are not counted in economic value.

Fr. Ruiz is quoted as saying “The only work I do is to defend Mother Nature, to preach the Gospel, and denounce injustices.”

In the UK we are still campaigning for land to be protected and designated as National Park, – for those in El Salvador things are even more serious. Makes you think how valuable an old tin can is, doesn’t it?

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