Tag: mining

The price of gold and the loss of forests

“Everything is connected” is something we say so often in ecology that it often loses its meaning. However, this new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences really exemplifies the real world impact of these connections.

Skyrocketing gold prices, driven mainly by speculators, has spurred an epidemic of illegal mining (and consequently deforestation) in the Peruvian Amazon. These mines are dangerously close to a major river system, increasing the risk of mining pollution entering the Madre de Dios River watershed. Mining and deforestation often go together, as we know very well here in the UP.

Greg Asner and his colleagues used remote sensing imagery to detect these mines and measure deforestation caused by them. The images themselves provide a powerful message. Each hectare lost to mining can support hundreds of tree species, and thousands of animal species which depend upon them. The loss of these forests and risks of pollution are difficult to calculate, and therefore difficult to balance against the fluctuating value of the gold retrieved from the mines.


30 years in the blink of an eye

Time, NASA, USGS and Google have joined forces to create a stunning tool to visualize the extensive change that has occurred on our planet at human hands. Dubbed “Timelapse“, millions of Landsat satellite images from the past 30 years have been joined to allow the user to pan across a landscape and witness deforestation in the Amazon, glacial retreat from climate change, tar sands mining in Alberta, mountaintop removal in West Virginia, and urban sprawl in cities like Shanghai, China and Las Vegas, New Mexico (with the accompanying water withdrawal from Lake Mead).

It is often difficult for us to conceptualize and understand the scale at which our natural resource and land use reconfigures our world, but this tool helps immensely. Take a few minutes to check it out……


Mining in the UP presentations

Here’s the info on both speakers:

Please join us for a presentation and informal discussion concerning
“The Threat of Metallic Sulfide Mining Expansion in the Great Lakes Region”

Kristi Mills of Save the Wild UP will lead this discussion.  Her presentation will be from the standpoint of a concerned citizens activist group and will cover current and prospective future operations, citizens’ concerns, and the process of organizing against the mines and challenges and opportunities Save the Wild UP has faced.

Date:  Thursday, October 13
Time:  12-1:00
Place: Memorial Union Ballrooms B2/B3
Lunch: Please feel free to bring a lunch

The broader campus community is invited, so please spread the word. We’d like to see this event well attended.  You can find out more about Save the Wild UP at www.savethewildup.org

In a related presentation:
David Anderson from Orvana Resources will discuss mining and community development in the UP from the industry perspective on Tuesday, October 25 from 12-1:00pm, in the Memorial Union Ballroom B2/B3. Please feel free to bring a lunch.

Anyone with questions should contact Prof. Richelle Winkler (rwinkler <at sign> mtu.edu)


Mining in the UP

Prof. Richelle Winkler, a new faculty member in Social Sciences, is arranging for pro- and anti-mining speakers to give short presentations on campus regarding mining in the UP. The information for the anti-mining speaker has been set; no firm details yet on the pro-mining speaker (but stay tuned here for an update!)

Current Mining Activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Date: Thursday, October 13
Time: 12-1:00
Place: Memorial Union Ballrooms B2/B3

Students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend an informal lunchtime discussion with Kristi Mills from Save the Wild UP (http://www.savethewildup.org/) about current mining efforts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the organization’s efforts to protect community and environmental well-being. Kristi will offer a presentation and allow time for discussion.  Please feel free to bring your lunch.  This event is being sponsored by the Social Science Department, Program on Environmental Policy, Program on Industrial Archaeology, and Students for a Sustainable Environment.