On October 20, 2022, in Guinea, a protest organized by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) took place. The protesters demanded the ruling military government (the National Committee of Reconciliation and Development, or CNRD) release political detainees and sought to establish a framework for a return to civilian rule. They were met with violent security forces, and in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, at least five people were injured and three died from gunshot wounds. The main violence was in Conakry’s commune of Ratoma, one of the poorest areas in the city. In September 2021, the CNRD, led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, overthrew the government of Alpha Condé, which had been in power for more than a decade and was steeped in corruption.
In Kolawalpur village of Banda District (state of Uttar Pradesh), many farmers complained bitterly that the miners of river sand had destroyed their farms and standing crops. What is more, threat of floods in the rainy season and the river drying up in the dry season had increased due to the excessive extraction of sand from the river using heavy machines. Workers who were employed in sand mining had not been paid the wages due to them. In Mahawa and Bhirala villages of Sikar district (state of Rajasthan) the farmers and pastorals had been devastated by mining of stone and the use of dynamite for this. Water sources were drying up. Not just workers but even other villagers had fallen prey to stone dust related health problems including silicosis disease. After blasting work, stones were hurled here and there and could hurt anyone.
In late July, a large sinkhole appeared near the town of Tierra Amarilla in Chile’s Copiapó province in the Atacama salt flat. The crater, which has a diameter of more than 100 feet, emerged in one of Chile’s most lucrative regions for copper and lithium extraction. The nearby Candelaria mining complex—80 percent of the property is owned by Canada’s Lundin Mining Corporation and 20 percent is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation—had to halt its operations in the area. On August 1, Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) tweeted that it had assembled a team to investigate the sinkhole that appeared less than 2,000 feet away from human habitation.
When Ky NoHeartInWar got a call telling them to get over near to a new digging site at Thacker Pass, or Peehee Mu’huh (Rotten Moon), they knew it was a “pretty intense” situation. NoHeartInWar got to the site, put their drone into the sky and filmed an individual taking what they say was “spearheads” out of the ground while collecting dirt samples as archeological procedures began for the Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in April 2022. The land where construction is slated is at the site of a massacre perpetuated by the U.S. government in 1865. NoHeartInWar sat down to speak with Unicorn Riot in April 2022 about what they filmed near Fort McDermitt on April 16, 2022. In a recorded interview featuring drone footage that NoHeartInWar took, they take us through what they saw that day and explained how Biden’s new Defense Production Act is allowing mining projects to supersede past “agreements between sovereign nations” while disobeying NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act).
Pembroke, Maine — One May evening, residents packed into a Pembroke meeting room to decide the future of their town. On the agenda: Should Pembroke ban industrial metal mining? The coalition of farmers, environmentalists and retirees who had called the vote wasn’t sure what to expect. Pembroke, a town of fewer than 900, isn’t exactly a liberal stronghold — Donald Trump carried the county twice. But this was not a national election, and the mining threat was not abstract: In 2021, Canadian company Wolfden Resources unveiled plans to mine for silver uphill from the wells residents rely on for water and just 2 miles from the rich estuary of Cobscook Bay. Severine von Tscharner Fleming, one of the leaders of the grassroots effort to stop the mine, puts it this way: In Pembroke, “people are not all in the same part of the political spectrum, but our common ground is literally our common ground.”
Half of all the oil consumed since the dawn of the modern oil age in 1859 has been consumed from 1998 through 2021 inclusive based on data available from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Approximately 1.4 trillion barrels of oil is thought to have been consumed to date (though there are estimates as low as 1.1 trillion). That means that in just the last 24 years total historical oil consumption has doubled. It is hard for most people to imagine the vast increases in the rate of consumption of practically everything that makes modern life possible. Resources appear without most of us ever thinking about how or whether the rising rates of consumption can be sustained.
Just over two years ago when lockdowns were being declared like dominoes around the world, there was a brief moment when the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to hold the potential for much-needed reflection. Could it lead to a reversal away from the profit-driven ecological and socio-economic dead end we’ve been propelling toward? Arundhati Roy’s call to critical reflection was published in early April 2020. At the time, she was observing the early evidence, on one hand, of the devastating toll of the pandemic as a result of extraordinary inequality, the privatized health care system, and the rule of big business in the U.S., which continued to play out along lines of class and race.
In 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that, in order to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, no new oil and gas fields or coal mines could be developed. Now, a study published in Environmental Research Letters Tuesday goes even further: In order to meet the 1.5 goal, we will have to abandon nearly 40 percent of “developed reserves” of fossil fuels. “Going beyond recent warnings by the International Energy Agency, our results suggest that staying below 1.5°C may require governments and companies not only to cease licensing and development of new fields and mines, but also to prematurely decommission a significant portion of those already developed,” the study authors wrote.
On April 10, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in what is believed to be a US-backed soft coup. One of the likely reasons for the coup is that Khan was taking action to end excessive corporate power bestowed by bilateral trade agreements. Clearing the FOG speaks with Manuel Perez Rocha of the Institute for Policy Studies about Khan and how trade agreements function to force countries into allowing corporations to exploit their workers and devastate their environment. Perez Rocha explains why ending corporate abuse is essential to addressing the climate crisis and how trade could be structured to uphold human rights and protection of the planet. He also speaks about the risks of extraction for minerals that are required for a green economy.
The DPA is the wrong instrument for increasing domestic supplies of minerals for clean energy development. In the U.S., a new mine will take an average of 10 years to receive its permits because of the extensive investigations needed to prove safety. Even if minerals are extracted, they need to be shipped abroad for processing since there are no facilities in the U.S. to process these minerals. New mines and processing facilities simply cannot come online fast enough to address an urgent need for minerals. And, the Biden Administration has already supported the mining industry through the recent infrastructure law. The 2020 Energy Act also directed the Department of Energy to invest $740 million in research and development for the industry.
The growing movement for regeneration offers a much needed reframe of how to fully show up in our humanity at this critical moment in our planet’s history. We need to move beyond incremental change and a narrowed fixation on reducing our carbon footprint. We cannot treat social injustices and ecological crises as separate, unrelated phenomena. Nor can we surrender to despair and distraction, or waste time on projects that make us feel good but lack deeper impact. The task at hand—our great calling—is to simultaneously regenerate our ecosystems AND integrate the design of new social and economic systems that can truly center and support life. At a foundational level, this ambitious project of regeneration requires us to RESIST or stop destruction, repair harm, and reimagine our world, our communities, and the systems upon which we depend.
Members of a Peruvian community have promised to restart a road blockade against a prominent copper mine, even as a second community promised a 45-day truce in the dispute. The planned disruption is the latest in a series of protests along the road leading to the Las Bambas mine, which is owned by MMG Ltd and produces 2 percent of the world’s copper supply. Dozens of impoverished Andean communities live along the 400km (248 miles) dirt road. They have regularly complained that the trucks transiting to the mine pollute the environment while failing to increase the quality of life for residents. Since opening in 2016, the mining road has been blocked for more than 400 days by different groups.
The people of the southern Argentinian province of Chubut are celebrating more than just the holidays this December. After a fierce struggle against a recently enacted zoning law that would have opened the province up to large-scale silver, copper, and lead mining by multinational corporations like Canadian Pan American Silver, the governor was ultimately forced to backtrack. The law in question, which was approved on December 15, was repealed last Tuesday, just five days later. From the night of the approval until the afternoon of December 21, the movement against the law spread rapidly throughout the province. In a context of growing austerity, unemployment, and poverty, thousands took to the streets to make their voices heard.
For two weekends in a row, thousands of demonstrators across Serbia have blocked major roads and brought the country to a standstill, concerned their land, water and air risk being exploited. They're angry over what they're calling a looming ecological disaster, and accusing the government of attempting to pass laws that would allow foreign investors to seize land, and disregard environmental regulations. The most famous name among those investors is Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto, which plans to build Europe's largest lithium mine in the Jadar Valley near the western city of Loznica. The Serbian government decided on Wednesday to suspend two laws that would help Rio Tinto launch the mine, but tensions between it and protesters remain.
Around 900 workers walked off the job at mining conglomerate Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelting facility in Kitimat and power plant in Kemano, British Columbia early Sunday morning. The workers, for whom Unifor Local 2301 is the bargaining agent, are striking against the highly profitable company’s ever-expanding use of temporary contract labour and its refusal to grant workers hired since 2019 defined-benefit pensions. Talks between the Australia-based multinational, which is the third-largest mining corporation in the world, and union representatives began on June 7. Management immediately made clear its determination to enforce aggressive cost-cutting measures, even though the company raked in net profits of US $9.8 billion in 2020.