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For immediate release: April 21, 2004


New Web Resource Offers Practical Steps for Consumers and Communities to Limit Footprint on Earth's Surface Resources

Washington, DC, 4/21 — Coinciding with the 34th annual Earth Day Celebration this week, EARTHWORKS today announced a new tool to aid consumers and communities in making responsible choices at home that will help protect the environment and communities around the world from the impacts of mining, drilling, and digging.

Earthworks@HOME will provide information and practical suggestions and tips that will help consumers make informed choices about everything from jewelry to cell phones.  The focus will be on steps that people can take in their everyday lives to tread more lightly on the earth's surface — conserving resources, producing less waste, and protecting communities.

Earthworks@HOME is about information and choice.  For example, it makes the connection between the gold used in products like cell phones and wedding rings and the mine that leaks cyanide and acid drainage into nearby streams” said Stephen D'Esposito, president of EARTHWORKS.  “And it provides real-life options that people can put into practice in their homes, their schools, their businesses, and their communities.”

Earthworks@HOME can be found at earthworks.org

Each month a new report, analysis, consumer tip, or action will be profiled, along with an archive of articles and reports and links to related organizations.

For its inaugural, Earthworks@HOME features a new report by the Worldwatch Institute, Good Stuff?  A Behind the Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy, written in partnership with EARTHWORKS. The report analyzes a range of products and issues, from the social and environmental impacts of producing chocolate to the ecological damage that can result from a single gold ring.  The report offers some eye-opening facts about the impact of the products that we all use and it offers practical consumer solutions and choices –such as recycling computer parts, buying more fuel efficient cars, and pressuring jewelers to responsibly source their precious metals.

“Good Stuff? exposes some pretty bad stuff but it also educates consumers and provides them with alternatives and actions they can take to make a difference,” said Payal Sampat, Director of the “No Dirty Gold” campaign (www.nodirtygold.org).  “For instance, shoppers in New York and Seattle can ask jewelers to verify that they're not using gold that was mined at the expense of community or environmental health.”

Irresponsible mining, drilling, and digging can have a devastating impact on the earth's resource and communities.  For example, mining tops the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) toxic release inventory.  According to the EPA mining has polluted 40 percent of streams in western U.S. watersheds.  A new report Dirty Metals: Mining, Communities, and the Environment (available at www.nodirtygold.org/dirty_metals_report.cfm) chronicles the devastating environmental and human rights impacts of mining.

EARTHWORKS (formerly Mineral Policy Center) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide.