The group that found the conditions most unfavorable are the indigenous people. This is because they are increasingly forced to adhere to the new methods through which business and trade in general is conducted. In the past when there were no currencies, people had come up with various ways of conducting their activities. However, now they have to start understanding the trade market. There are a lot of other issues that now exist other than the simple buying and selling. This is especially because there are different ways of doing business between countries. This situation has been made easier by the existence of the international trade laws that have a set of rules of how trade is conducted between various countries. This helps in protecting entities that may be taken advantage of when they conduct trade with other countries that are in a higher position. This is especially the case for the indigenous people who are not very conversant with the trading scene.
The Choco community mostly depends on agricultural produce for their survival. Some of the activities that they take part in are fishing and farming. However, they feel that their livelihood is threatened by the mining activities because of the effects of these activities (Hague, 615). This is because there are some dangers to the environment, especially the soil, that are caused by mining activities.
Mining for one, causes a lot of danger to the water that is needed for human survival such as in cooking and drinking. Mining of certain minerals such as lutetium is dangerous because most of these minerals are highly concentrated in chemicals. When these chemicals find the way into either the water that is used by animals, or to the soil, it causes adverse damage to the fertility of the soil thus making it impossible for plants to grow. As a result, the Choco community is afraid that this will cause them to not be able to take part in farming activities, and they may not be able to find food. Areas around mines are often contaminated due to the presence of these chemicals that are ether used in the process of mining or are the ones that result from the mining process. When the ground is dug for the process of mining, there is quite an amount of water that comes out that poses even more danger, despite the fact that the water in itself is not dangerous. The water helps in spreading the chemicals in more areas other than just around the mining location. This therefore ends up spreading the danger of the chemicals to even more parts of the land. This further jeopardizes the farming activities of the people who live or reap from living around the mining area. In areas where miners are aware of these dangers to the environment, they are able to put into place systems that ensure the water is not contaminated. They will also often try to contain the water that is released within the mining areas so that it does not take part in spreading the dangerous minerals.
The Choco community has therefore requested that should the activity continue despite their opposition, the miners should ensure that they conform to these methods of preventing a lot of damage. There are certain laws of both the states and the federal government that help in making sure that people who reside along mining areas are not affected by the mining activities, and that the land continues to be safe for them to do their various farming activities. The law requires them to make sure that the water is protected. This is both the water that is already in the surface and the one that comes out of the ground when it is drilled during mining. This can be ensured by putting into use extraction processes that are non-toxic. One of these processes is known as bioleaching. In the case that the mining site is still contaminated, there are certain techniques that are used for mitigation. This process is known as acid mine drainage.
Mining also causes deforestation. When the mines are found in areas where there are forests, the forests have to be cleared first before the mining can take place. This therefore means that the area is suffering from the effects of deforestation such a reduced amounts of rainfall as well as the land suffering from less fertility of the soil. This is the fact or that is likely to cause the greatest damage to the Choco people. The first reason is that the people depend on farming for their livelihood. Secondly, their area of residence is a tropical rainforest. In essence this means that they are used to environments that have a lot of rainfall and also have a lot of forests. This means that should the area be selected for mining activities, they will have to do with a lot of changes especially with regards to the climate. These changes are also likely to cause a lot of harm to the lives, and especially health of the people. This is because they are used to a certain environment, so should it change, there will be certain diseases that they are likely to start suffering from. They will also be quite inconvenienced because they will have to start doing things in a different manner.
This project has also been massively opposed by the indigenous people, commonly known as aboriginal people. Most of these people still live the traditional ways and thus largely depend on nature for survival. The currently existing projects have already brought them enough peril; they don’t want to receive more. Most of these people have been forced off their lands for extraction purposes (McShane, 313). Crucial aspects of their lives and cultures have also been interrupted by these projects. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that the increased cancer rates have been brought about by lutetium production. This population complains of several other diseases such as lupus and renal failure that they began suffering from when these operations began, they fear that if more of such projects are brought up, they may become extinct.
Some of the residents of Choco see this initiative as a plan to take away one of the few existing ecosystems in the world, and turn it into America’s oil tank. This is because Choco is currently home to a wide range of animals due to its wetlands and boreal forests that have managed to stay in place through the years and all the environmental pollution that the world is currently facing. The animals that are found in this area are not very common, hence the need to preserve them. Some of them are grizzly bears, caribou and lynx. These areas also currently serve as a major breeding ground for North America birds such as the waterfowl and songbirds. As the oil companies expand and continue to find ways of increasing production, they are starting to take up some of these wetlands and turning them into mines for lutetium. The processes that are included in these practices include turning bitumen into crude oil and extraction of lutetium. These processes require a lot of water and energy. They are also known to cause a lot more air and water pollution. This production is also known to cause more global warming; three times what is currently being caused by other crude production processes. Therefore, the people of Choco and other environmental conservationists are against the construction of this pipeline since it is going to cause a lot of damage to these wetlands and forests, thus destroying the habitats of these animals, and decreasing their already small population. The issue of global warming is also a very sensitive topic the world over. Therefore, the thought that this process could actually triple the already scary process of global warming, is one that the people of Choco are very sensitive about. If adopted, this project would be the third to be put up. This is increasingly going to be an environmental impediment to Choco land. The people of Choco are also concerned because if this project is indeed implemented, it will cut across from Choco into the USA, in the process, it will pollute all the fresh water supplies that are found in those areas.
There are several other environmental problem agricultural environments that are associated with this project for the people of Choco. For instance, the mining projects that are currently in existence are already said to be causing a lot of pollution. This is brought about by the several leaks that have been witnessed. These leaks are already causing threats to the thus being an impediment for food production and availability of safe water. This is just a tip of the iceberg because it is said that the contents of the oil that is to be transported through these pipelines is much more dangerous than what is being transported currently. This is because the mining is said to carry chemicals such as vanadium, nickel, mercury, lead, benzene arsenic and selenium among others. These are considered some of the deadliest chemicals in the world and could have a huge and dangerous impact on the environment.
Despite this opposition by some of the residents of Choco, a section of them are welcoming the move. They are of the opinion that declining to approve the project would not necessarily mean that the business of production and transportation of the mineral to America would stop, therefore whatever effects that are being prevented by avoiding this project will still be witnessed. This move is also welcomed by a section of Alberta residents because they see it as a guarantee for job openings in the near future if the project is to receive approval. Apparently, the project is supposed to provide an approximate of 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect ones. There will also be a lot of what is referred to as spin off jobs. These are jobs that will be given to those who reside along the lines where the pipeline project is to be set up (Lewallen, 74).
Another benefit that could be drawn from this project for Choco people is exposure. It is set to oversee the exportation of approximately 800,000 barrels of oil ion one day. If the pipeline is set up, it will cut across six states of America. This will bring more profitability to the Choco people because it will be able to increase its production of tar sand for the extraction of oil which is known to be the number one product that lifts the economy of any country or state that produces and exports it. The energy department of Choco have also made note that the oil production industry in the area is going to increase and improve whether this pipeline is constructed or not. This is because of the undeniable fact that there is presence of tar sand in the area that will definitely not go unexploited. It is also due to the fact that there are several other extraction projects that have been in place for several years now and thus an additional one will not have a much different impact than what has been caused by the other projects.
McShane, Katie. “Editorial: Commons Made Tragic.” Environmental Values22.3 (2013): 313-315.
Haque, Nawshad, et al. “Rare Earth Elements: Overview of Mining, Mineralogy, Uses, Sustainability and Environmental Impact.” Resources 3.4 (2014): 614-635.
lewallen, ann-elise. “Resilience Embodied.” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 1.1 (2014).