Washington, DC — This Mother's Day, leaders of the No Dirty Gold consumer campaign are calling on husbands, sons, and daughters to protect mothers around the world from being harmed by destructive gold mining practices. Mother's Day is the second largest gold jewelry- giving holiday of the year after the Christmas season.
“Many of our mothers have been impoverished and can no longer feed their children because mining operations have taken over their farmland and contaminated their drinking water supplies,” said Hannah Owusu-Koranteng of the Wassa region in Ghana, where families have suffered in the wake of a cyanide spill from a gold mine in 2001. “The human cost of gold mining is simply too high.”
While not a boycott, the campaign seeks to educate consumers about the harmful impacts of gold mining and to build consumer support for industry reform. It is asking consumers to sign a pledge calling on jewelry retailers and the mining industry to provide gold that has been produced according to the highest human rights and environmental standards. The pledge is available at www.nodirtygold.org.
“We are encouraging husbands, sons, and daughters to show their appreciation to mom by choosing a gift that will not hurt another mother elsewhere in the world,” said Payal Sampat, No Dirty Gold campaign co-director. “And we're asking that they help us honor the many mothers who are trying to protect their children and families from the impacts of gold mining.”
The campaign has sent its supporters a flash animation e-card to send to their friends, which reads, “This Mother's Day, honor your mother by doing something for mothers all over the world. Help women and their families overcome pollution, sickness and poverty caused by one of the dirtiest industries on the planet&It will make your mother proud.” To download a copy of the e-card, please visit www.nodirtygold.org, where you can also read profiles of mothers affected by gold mining projects around the world.
Says Carrie Dann, a Western Shoshone grandmother from Nevada: “To the Shoshone, the Earth is our mother, that which gives us all life. And, in the name of the almighty dollar, open-pit gold mining is destroying our Earth.”
Eighty percent of the world's gold production goes in to jewelry. A single gold ring leaves at least 20 tons of waste in its wake. Massive pollution, huge open pits, devastating community health effects, worker dangers and, in many cases, human rights abuses have become hallmarks of gold and metals mining in countries such as Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, and parts of the United States.
Notes Oxfam America's Keith Slack, campaign co-director: “Unfortunately, consumers today aren't offered the choice between gold produced using “dirty” practices, and gold that is produced more responsibly. We're asking consumers to join us in an effort to change this.”
The No Dirty Gold campaign was launched this past February with the theme of “Don't Tarnish Your Love with Dirty Gold.” For more information, including a fact sheet on gold mining, please visit www.nodirtygold.org. To interview mothers affected by gold mining, please contact Payal Sampat at Earthworks at tel. 202-887-1872 x. 210.