Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gold mining destroying Rain Forests - tracts of dead zones slicing ever-widening swathes through the once-emerald expanses of the Amazon -- the trails of a modern-day gold rush.



"It was the wing cameras -- those simple HD wing cameras -- that grabbed everybody's attention," Asner, a professor at the California-based Carnegie Institution for Science, told the Huffington Post.
They revealed vast tracts of dead zones slicing ever-widening swathes through the once-emerald expanses of the Amazon -- the trails of a modern-day gold rush.
"A lot of poor folks from up in the Andes have migrated down to partake in a very classic-style gold rush," Asner explained. "It's totally illegal. It's totally unplanned. It's totally informal.

Dr. Gregory Asner didn't need hyper-spectral imaging to tell him something was very wrong with Earth's mightiest rain forest.
In fact, none of the super-sensory techno-gadgetry aboard his research plane -- dubbed the Carnegie Airborne Observatory -- would tell a more horrifying tale than a basic pair of wing-mounted cameras.
"It was the wing cameras -- those simple HD wing cameras -- that grabbed everybody's attention," Asner, a professor at the California-based Carnegie Institution for Science, told the Huffington Post.
They revealed vast tracts of dead zones slicing ever-widening swathes through the once-emerald expanses of the Amazon -- the trails of a modern-day gold rush.
"A lot of poor folks from up in the Andes have migrated down to partake in a very classic-style gold rush," Asner explained. "It's totally illegal. It's totally unplanned. It's totally informal.
"It's somewhere between 300 per cent and 500 per cent higher than the government thought was going on. There might be 50,000 of these miners now."
And, as their operations rake claws across the Amazon, the toll not only on the land but the people who have long called it home has become impossible to ignore.
"It is amazing to see the gold mining expand so rapidly," Asner noted. "I've been on the ground, covertly, in the mines, and it is horrendous for the people who are working and living there, but they don't care because gold is so valuable currently."
Indeed, the Amazon may be the most vital victim of the 2008 financial crisis. Amid the bailouts, collapse of financial institutions and market panic of that dismal year, the price of gold skyrocketed.
Asner estimates before the crisis, the Amazon was studded with some 2,100 hectares of goldmines.
And after gold prices surged?
"The rate went up from 2,100 to 6,500 -- and it has gone up since then."
Rich man, poor mankind.

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