Destruction at LA PAMPA
30,000 hectares destroyed in just 3 years
Destruction at Minefield HUAYPETUE
1 mile = 2,6 km
Teen prostitution in Mine Camps
Girls from only 12 years are traded like slaves
Destruction of the rainforest
Timber, industry, power plants and mining in Peru and Brazil - Negative effects on humans and nature.
A Toxic Legacy: Gold Mining in Peru
This video shows the apocalyptic destruction of the rainforest in pursuit of illegally mined gold and the health impacts of mercury pollution.
No law, no rights for children
A young girl exposes the dark underworld of gold mining towns in Peru.
In 1994 I arrived first time at Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. In this time I introduced a project helping the gold prospectors to protect themselves and the environment using a “device” called potato retort – a simple and inexpensive way to separate the mercury from the gold. This way the mercury vapor was concentrated in the half of a potato and could be recovered/recycled reducing in a considerable way contamination of nature and the miners themselves. In those times, though, there were a lot of small miners who didn’t damage the rainforest “too much”. They were working manually with wheelbarrows, shovels and a wooden sluice. There were few dredges on the river and only few motorized mining operations on land.
While in the 70's and 80's the gold mining was performed mainly on a very small scale by individuals on the river banks and there were only a few times stampedes on newly explored gold fields - by the end of the 80's larger operations took place. There were carancheras (kind of a floating underwater vacuum cleaner), chupaderas (same as carancheras but with an additional water cannon), dragas (dredges) and other means of large earth moving equipment in use. As the river cause has been worked over and over again, the gold miners explored former riverbeds in the jungle, where the rivers flowed some hundred years ago. The result was a completely destroyed rainforest, an uncomparable devastation and apocalyptical destruction of nature.
Most of the gold miners were not successful on the quest for the fortune. In these days we find abandoned dredges and other machines telling us the stories of another poor devil who lost everything chasing recklessly for gold. Old oil, grease and other chemicals are released into the water and poison the groundwater as well as the rivers harming fauna, flora and the local population. In 2014 and 2015 hundreds of mining operations have been bombed and destroyed by police and military and just left behind.
By Donovan Webster - Smithsonian Magazine - February 2012
Spurred by rising global demand for the metal, miners are destroying invaluable rainforest in Peru's Amazon basin.
It’s a few hours before dawn in the Peruvian rainforest, and five bare light bulbs hang from a wire above a 40-foot-deep pit. Gold miners, operating illegally, have worked in this chasm since 11 a.m. yesterday. Standing waist-deep in muddy water, they chew coca leaves to stave off exhaustion and hunger.
In the pit a minivan-size gasoline engine, set on a wooden cargo pallet, powers a pump, which siphons water from a nearby river. A man holding a flexible ribbed-plastic hose aims the water jet at the walls, tearing away chunks of earth and enlarging the pit every minute until it’s now about the size of six football fields laid side by side. The engine also drives an industrial vacuum pump. Another hose suctions the gold-fleck-laced soil torn loose by the water cannon.
A team of OjoPúblico toured camps of illegal mining production in Huepetuhe and La Pampa, the largest area of deforestation in Peru; it also sailed the Madre de Dios, Beni and Madeira rivers in search of Bolivian and Brazilian dredges; the team reached the mines in the mountains of the Cordillera del Condor, near the border between Peru and Ecuador, and traveled to the depths of Caqueta and Amazonas regions dominated by the FARC and drug trafficking in the jungle of Colombia. This excursion to the centers of the gold rush in five countries allowed us to identify companies from US, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates that financed the removal of tons of illegally obtained gold in South America. Read more ...
The aim of the project is to repair damages filling the holes left behind by the miners, reforest the area with natural and local pioneer plants like the balsawood tree (ochroma pyramidale) and help nature to recover from this nightmare itself. However, this whole story will start over and over again if the people who live in and of the mining trade (more than 50,000 persons alone in Madre de Dios) are not given alternatives for creating a reasonable income. So, reparation of past damages is one aim and prevention of future damages is another.
This is planned to be achieved with instruction (vocational training) for men and women, promoting environmental awareness in schools, universities and at local authorities plus the setup of a training center which creates access to international markets providing language training (English/German/Asian languages) and other hard skills like internet and email marketing, social media presence and other means of promotion of the locally produced goods. Creating these options we hope to decrease not only the mining activity but also teenage prostitution, drug consumption, crime propagation and help people to look into a brighter future producing products like fruits, vegetables, meat and many, many other amazon products not only for own or local consumption but also for export, putting that way the seed for small food and beverage or other industries.
The Amazon Recovery Project System:
Soil Recovery → Reforestation/Maintenance → Education
The highest rated officials in the world held a (UN) meeting where a girl made them silent for six minutes with her mind blowing speech. (1992)
Now, Severn Cullis-Suzuki is an activist for diversity – in the natural world, in human society and in cultural worldviews. She began as child, calling on leaders for intergenerational justice for her generation. Today she fights for the future of her own children.
A proud global citizen, her work is often on a international level; but it is rooted in Canada where she is an author and environmental communicator, and in the treeroots and salmon streams of her home province of British Columbia, where she lives on Haida Gwaii. Severn is a member of the Earth Charter International Council, host of Aboriginal People’s Television Network’s Samaqan: Water Stories, a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.