The world's food production and millions of small farmers and communities are under increasing threat from the rapid expansion of mining, says a new report released today.
UnderMining Agriculture: How the Extractive Industries Threaten our Food Systems, produced by The Gaia Foundation and global allies, exposes the hidden costs of mining on food, water, land, air and climate, showing how each is increasingly affected by toxins as the global land and water grab intensifies.
Download the full report as a pdf here.
Case studies from around the world illustrate how mining is destroying the conditions essential for healthy and productive agriculture as communities testify to experiencing livestock deaths, soil pollution, acidic water supplies, desertification of agricultural lands, and being forcibly displaced. Promises of job creation and economic growth have been shown to be exaggerated, short-lived and only benefiting the few, whilst the lasting impact on the communities and ecosystems they depend upon are yet to be fully analysed and exposed.
"In recent years The Gaia Foundation and our partners have been forced to turn our attention to mining because the extractives industries are encroaching on the land and livelihoods of most of the communities with whom we work. In our experience, rather than contributing to "national interests", the rapid and chaotic increase in extraction is now literally under-mining the fundamental needs of life: Healthy ecosystems, water systems and food systems. Protecting the conditions for life is a priority." Said Liz Hosken, Founding Director of The Gaia Foundation.
The UnderMining Agriculture report shows how at every stage of mining - from prospecting and operations right through to closure - impacts are being felt. Furthermore, the extraction of minerals, metals or fossil fuels, pollutes areas far wider than the actual mining site, continuing years after its closure.
Jamie Kneen from Mining Watch Canada commented: "UnderMining Agriculture is a clear call to action to bring the extractive industries under control, showing how they directly and indirectly threaten food security and food sovereignty, and even the survival of entire ecosystems. The conflict is not a mystery for communities from the Amazon to the Arctic struggling for their own futures, but this important report puts the pieces together for campaigners and the general public and makes it clear that better rules or practices are not enough; the entire extractivist economic model has to be turned around."
Nnimmo Bassey, former Head of Friends of the Earth Africa, and now Director of HOMEF, commented: "This is a timely report and a critical message - What will people drink when their water is contaminated? How will people live when their air is polluted, their trees are gone, and their farmland is but a poisoned wasteland? As people around the world stand together to say Yes to Life, No to Mining, this report is an important wake up call for us all."
Notes to Editors
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