Do you want to help progress solutions for the mining problems south of the Orinoco? Here are some ideas for you
EXPLORA Magazine. Second Special Edition. 2021.
Our first Special Edition had two goals: (1) to publicize the region with the greatest biological and cultural diversity in the country and (2) to reflect about the ecological and social impacts of the National Strategic Development Zone Project “Orinoco Mining Arc”, decreed in 2016. Since the first edition was published, we have all witnessed the predatory advancement of illegal mining activities. We’ve kept informing, creating and participating in discussion panels, supporting and advising research projects, identifying the need for a second Special Edition. This time also focusing on plausible strategies to build participatory and sustainable solutions and making it available for planning.
There is no single path to these solutions, in fact the paths are multiple and diverse. They must be made by all Venezuelans.
On all the different fora we’ve participated in since the first Special Edition, the one question that remains constant from participants is: What can we do? That is why we joined forces with Todos Por El Futuro in this article, to provide you with information on how, each of us can help blaze paths towards an environmentally sustainable and fair country.
Todos por El Futuro is a new, proactive and motivated environmental movement that is promoting citizen-lead climate action in Caracas, as well as the environmental fight in alliance with other organizations, underpinned by collaboration and solidarity.
Here you will find ideas and information for you to make those ideas actionable and contribute to this initiative; one that should belong to all Venezuelans:
- You are here, reading this second Special Edition. That means that you are sensitive to the problem and you want to understand the situation in more depth. This understanding will enable you to develop valid arguments to demand solutions from the appropriate stakeholders and institutions. It is important to keep yourself informed and up-to-date with the recent research on the multiple impacts, events and the implications of legal and illegal mining south of the Orinoco. We provide links to resources on our social media.
- Be a multiplier. Share information from trusted sources among your close circles and in social media. Spread the information to your contacts abroad. Few people overseas know about the current situation south of the Orinoco and we need to multiply our voices to overcome the media siege.
- Provide quorum to initiatives organised by NGOs through participation. Join mobilizations and campaigns. Promote citizen participation. Invite others to participate and provide tools to help them multiply the message. This will create collective awareness and we will increase citizen’s pressure for the defense of our rights and our territories.
- If you are abroad there is a lot you can do: contact international organizations to enquiry about how they could support these efforts and generate their own campaigns. Most of the end consumers of the ore and products mined from our territory are high-income countries. As a citizen you can join and support ongoing efforts for the establishment and enforcement of standards, regulating the whole value chain of mined materials, to make sure some basic ethical standards are met. For example: there is no forced labour and human rights are respected, what is the method of extraction, what mechanisms for mitigation and compensation of environmental impacts are in place, among others. Additionally, more transparency in the supply chain is needed as well as promoting a change in both production and consumption patterns to: (1) avoid programmed obsolescence in technology, (2) ensure recycling of electronic components, (3) invest in research to replace minerals such as gold, coltan and others, (4) be responsible consumers and avoid unnecessarily changing electronic devices.
- Support projects such as The Ecocide Project and sign petitions such as the one proposed by environmental activists on ClimateEmergency.org to world leaders demanding that international authorities approve ecocide as the fifth international crime. Currently, the UN International Criminal Court based in The Hague, is responsible for trialing and punishing crimes threatening peace, security and human well-being. Until now, four specific acts are being trialed, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. By demanding the approval of ecocide as the fifth international crime that threatens the peace and human rights of indigenous communities and the safety and environmental well-being of the planet, actions will be taken to stop and penalize the situation in the south of the Orinoco.
- Lobbying governments like Spain and campaigning to its citizens it’s also urgently needed. This could stop their exports of mercury to Latin America and encourage legislation banning the use of conflict minerals. Pressing representatives in parliaments to comply with international agreements on environmental matters is also of prime importance. The Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement outline the routes to reduce each country’s share of greenhouse gas emissions. Compliance would imply a significant decrease in the demand for natural resources by changing the goals of industrial production and seeking alternatives for a sustainable planet.
- If you live in states where metal and non-metal mining is expanding, focus your fight there and share information that serves as proof of that reality. Getting accurate information from the mining-affected regions to the rest of the country is crucial. Contact human rights organizations in your region so that together they can design strategies for sefe action. In Bolívar state, you can contact CODEHCIU.
- A priority is to provide help to families who have been separated, have lost members in mine accidents or have been victims of mining-related violence and human rights violations. If you have been a victim or know somebody who have we suggest you contact Provea in the capital region, and CODEHCIU and A.C. Kapé in Bolívar state. If you want to disclose or publicly denounce an incident, you can contact regional journalists and printed media such as Correo del Caroní.
- Addressing this problem requires diverse views, multiple voices, and strategies. We invite you to join Todos por el Futuro or any of our allied organizations to contribute with ideas and actions that allow us to advance towards the recovery of our territories and the construction of a solid democracy, based on principles of environmental justice and respect for life.
- Phynatura together with its allies Conservation International (www.conservation.org), Givaudan (www.givaudan.com) Grupo Agroindustrial Tierra Mágica (Puerto Ayacucho) and Mane (www .mane.com) are promoting the design of a new conservation agreement for the sustainable use of sarrapia in Panare and Hoti indigenous communities. It is intended to achieve self-managed sustainable production of sarrapia in conservation areas under the standards of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (www.ethicalbiotrade.org). Your institutional or private contribution is very important to complete the pre-feasibility analysis and guide the participatory design of the Conservation Agreement. Are you interested? Write to email@example.com
Contacts of interest: @surdelorinoco @todosxelfuturo @codehciu @_provea @clima21DDHH @plataformacontraelamo @wataniba @ackapekape @chunikai_vzla @sosorinoco @correodelcaroni @acoanaorg @cerlas @coica @orpia_venezuela @tierravivavzla
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