“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” – so goes the Native American saying. The crying earth has no more tears to shed because the people dried them all up!
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon to you all.
Have you ever been to Cagayan, Palawan, or Mindoro? They are great with splendid places that are rich in minerals and natural resources. With those blessings comes a risk, for these havens are precious targets of mining companies. Some groups of people from these places are doing all they can to prevent such from happening. Why do they shy away from opportunities that could make our lives better when poverty is eating the hearts out of our society? What in sense of logic does a thing like this prove?
Ooops… Logic is bi-polar you know? It depends on which side of reason you are inclined to believe in. I still remember an incident when we have a flat-tire near the Amnay Bridge in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. My father asked a native who appeared to be in a rush, “Why are you in such a hurry, Dugoy?” (Dugoy is a friendly address to any Mangyan tribesman.). He replied, “I should be in a meeting with foreigners and politicians. I should not let them mine our lands for nickel. The Great Spirit will be angry should they disturb the earth!”
Isn’t that logic good enough to have come from an illiterate, barefooted, G-string clad and bolo sheathing Native?
For the other side of reason, a perfect example came from an interview we have conducted in Tanay. When some IP was asked why they do small-scale mining: They simply answered, “It is a way of acknowledging God’s gifts!”
I could never forget that analogy. They likened mining to opening of a gift. Truly God’s gift, like gold and other minerals are all around us. If we don’t mine and utilize them God will get mad, because not mining these minerals is like receiving a gift but never opening it!
Now we have defined the contending polarities centrally directed from the same “God or Great Spirit who will get angry” in either direction of choice. However, we also should consider the underlying arguments!
The gentlemen from Tanay speak of harvesting the apple, by hand picking the fruits to feed their people for centuries while the counsel from Occidental Mindoro is against the giant who will uproot the apple tree, take it away from them. Then, leave behind the abyss where the tree was, with only the tailings of its roots to remind them of its existence!
Woes of the Crying Earth: “People are bleeding me to death!”
Capitalism always leads to commercialism. Mining, from a sustainable practice has now evolved into one that is exploitive by nature. No longer is it a needs-based activity but somehow it has become subject to profiteering by the mining companies and to opportunism by some others that has to power to influence decisions. As in any activity, however, mining always has both good and bad consequences so people has to exercise sound judgment before taking their choice. Geophysics may now tend to declare, “It is neither God nor Mother Nature that brings forth the calamities. People punish themselves as the consequences of their decisions and they call it wrath of God or vengeance of Nature!”
For the good effects: mining has always been a tool for the people who sought to transform themselves and the environment. Large-scale mining provides job opportunities to people. We tend to use this as an opportunity to counter lack of jobs – one of the issues besetting us and devastating our country. Somehow mining offers a solution by employing people from the communities where the mine sites are. It also helps the economy of the country as more foreign investments are delivered to the country thru the mining companies. But these are just short-term benefits; in the long run the cons may outweigh the pros.
For the bad effects: some of the immediate effects of mining include loss of homes because of displacement and aggression as it is often associated to chaos arising from eviction of the indigenous people who are the native dwellers in those lands of the wealth. It is so very inhumane that these people have to be driven out of their ancestral lands that others may dig to their hearts’ content – and precisely endlessly with the desire to gain more wealth! Yes most of the dwellers are compensated but only after immeasurable deceptions, akin to robbing their souls away from their mortal bodies. They could be harassed and many have lost their lives so that mines could be harnessed. In my PS197 class, we learned of this when we went to Tanay, Rizal for a community immersion trip.
Another obvious effect of mining would be its impact on the environment. We have seen a series of disasters that claimed lives and destroyed properties. And the most recent is the Tsunami in Japan – almost co-equal to that portrayed in the movie 2012. What has mining got to do with this?
Take it from our friend Dugoy. He warned us, “The Great Spirit will get mad should we disturb the earth!” The world is in perfect condition and everything is in good harmony before mankind altered the equilibrium that maintains the peaceful physics of nature. The imbalance did not happen overnight. It is the accumulation of effects of human activity that continuously compound the situation. All this geophysical and astronomical disturbances are nature’s way of restoring the equilibrium. And we can call this the Tremors of the Cying Earth.
Large-scale mining contributes to the destruction of environmental systems through pollution of lands, rivers, and marine environments, and deforestation of sensitive, biologically rich zones. These are the most well-known long run effect of large-scale mining activities, not to mention the direct threats to the lives of the people. But these adverse results are often ignored though equally important as the aforementioned benefits. We have to discern the subtle effects, the social and economic consequences of mining. It brings irreversible loss of resources and dependence on the extraction of resources for jobs which are less sustainable compared to farming and other traditional forms of livelihood and employment. While it extends obvious immediate positive effects, the opposite is also true in greater horizon.
Woes of the Crying Earth! Don’t they know that I have to do everything to restore the balance within my system no matter how high the cost is? …That I have to do this to continue hosting the people who would be fortunate enough to survive the balancing process?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present this speech to dramatize the impact of mining in our already dying Earth. We have heard the Woes of the Crying Earth!
A speech presented by the author/owner of the blog in her Communication III class.