Community Mining

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The Philippines is a developing country that is rich in natural resources. Mining is one of its top industries and laws in this country allow foreign companies to explore and operate mining activities in its domain. Mining, which is one of the main industries of the richest countries in the world, contributes to climate change with their use of energy in excavating different parts of the mountain regions. The Philippine mining law allows mining companies to adopt a mountain.

Companies can reforest and take care of the mountains where they quarry. But this also gives capitalists and mining companies exclusive control of its use and development and can lead to exploitation of the natural resources to maximize their profits. Misuse and abuse of nature in this particular geographical space put the local community at higher risk for the harmful effects of climate change. Some of the mountains where miners operate are also the ancestral domains of the indigenous peoples.

The indigenous peoples are displaced from their natural environment which makes them very vulnerable. When the effects of climate change hit their land, many lives are at stake because the people have no shelter, especially during extreme weather conditions.

Capitalism furthered inequality in an expanding pattern. In this example, we can see how the problems in the local community can reach a national scale.  The workers are at risk of losing their jobs once mining companies pull out their investments and they would lack the means to provide for their families. Possible flooding could affect the local community and adjacent areas.

They could lose their homes, properties, and even lives when disaster strikes. Being a Third World country, the Philippines does not have enough resources to mitigate the effects of climate change in their society. Thus, we can see how capitalism has affected their part of the world and their capacity to cope with climate change.

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Capitalism has changed how the people treat nature. The locality or geographical space where the mining is done has become a commodity. It earns from the investments of the capitalists. The way people see this area has also changed. The people from that locality view this natural resource as an opportunity to get jobs to be able to provide for the needs of their families. These factors make them have better living conditions compared to neighboring areas where there are no investments or development. From their mountains being protected areas, capitalists have turned them into productive areas while simultaneously creating problems in the community and environment. The mining industry is already threatened by climate change with the occurrences of droughts and floods. However, the foreign capitalists in Southeast Asia have the means to adapt to these changes by developing technologies to provide them the water they need during drought or the engineering solutions to facilitate the transport of equipment, supplies, and laborers during adverse conditions. But the workers, the local community, and their nation feel the harmful effects of climate change because they have not yet reached the level of development that would allow them to mitigate its effects. Mining activities have made the mountains and their surrounding areas vulnerable to climate change while the capitalists are safe in their homes in their developed countries. The politics in the particular geographical area has to ensure the protection of the interest of the people and the environment. But most of the time, laws favor those who have the power and wealth and their interests take precedence over the common good. This is the sad reality in Southeast Asia. They cannot stop mining because their economy depends on it but nature and climate change are now finally charging man for the things he has done.

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One situation wherein capitalism affected nature and the environment is through climate change. Simply put, climate change is a substantial change in the climate of our entire planet. This change affects the weather patterns and the ecosystem in different parts of the world. Global warming, or the rise in earth’s temperature, is just one expression of climate change. Other manifestations of this environmental crisis are the rise in sea levels and melting glaciers and sea ice. Climate change causes extreme weather conditions such that summer days are hotter and winter gets colder. There are also stronger hurricanes or equally destructive, longer periods of drought. Although there are natural causes of climate change such as a change in the distance of the earth and sun, humans are also accountable for these changes. People’s daily activities such as cooking food, driving cars, watching television, and cooling their houses use energy. Coal, oil, or gas is burned for energy to be produced and it releases harmful gases into the air which affects the environment and climate. NASA says that it takes a hundred or million years for the climate to change. But we have finally come to a time when nature is finally charging man for abusing the natural resources. Amidst these changes, people need to adapt to be able to survive. The farmer needs to think of ways to irrigate his fields during hot summer days and protect his crops during heavy rains and storms. Those living along coastal areas need to leave their homes because the water level is rising and taking their land. Those who are mining for a living need to think about responsible and sustainable mining practices to protect their environment. This highlights how uneven development relates to climate change. The wealth of developed countries gives them the power and technology to overcome challenges in their own localities while at the same time, being able to control the production, distribution, and other businesses and industries in different parts of the world who are already feeling the adverse effects of climate change. Thus, the poor nations become poorer and rich nations become richer.