Opening Pandora's Box
Opening Pandora's Box: The New Wave of Land Grabbing by Extractive Industries and the Devastating Impact on Earth, was launched in Westminster in February 2012.
The report signals a wake-up call to the fact that the scale, expansion and acceleration of these industries are far greater than most of us realise. We are no longer talking about isolated pockets of destruction and pollution. Nowadays, chances are that, no matter where you live on Earth, land acquisitions for mining, oil and gas might soon be at your door. This trend is now a major driver of land grabbing globally, and poses a significant threat to the world's indigenous communities, farmers and local food production systems, as well as to precious water, forests, biodiversity, critical ecosystems and climate change.
This report alerts global citizens to the dynamics in the extractive industries as a whole, and shows the alarming scale of this overall trend. Just as in the Greek myth, when Pandora opened the box and let out all the troubles known to mortals, so too this new wave of land grabbing for mining is leading to unimaginable destruction. If hope does remain, we must wake-up and act now.
Read about the story behind Pandora's box and the relevance of the archetypal metaphor for our time.
Read about the launch of the report in Westminster, London, in February 2012.
"This report shows clearly how the game has changed over the last decade: the grabbing of land and resources is penetrating ever more deeply into the body of the Earth. Governments are becoming the shoe-shine boys for the extractive industries. We urgently need to set up an international system which holds those ravaging the planet to account. This is not Nigeria's problem or the Gulf of Mexico's problem; this is everyone' problem. The devastating impact being inflicted on ecosystems and communities must be recognised as international crimes and punished accordingly. Directors of corporations need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on the planet."
Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action
"What a timely report. No other report to date tackles the thorny issues that plague us; in Europe we are switching from coal to natural gas without any thought for the adverse impact fracking will have upon us all. Our right to life is being put at risk by dangerous industrial activities and no-one is speaking for the Earth. Where our states have the knowledge that industry is causing ecocide, they are under a duty to close down the extractive industries that cause risk of loss or injury to life. This report whistleblows the evidence: no longer can governments claim to have no knowledge of the adverse impact of fracking, land grabbing and mining. This new wave of land grabbing is putting profit above people and planet. Only when we close the door to ecocide will people and planet come first. When we do that the Earth's right to life will be secured."
Polly Higgins, Barrister and author of Eradicating Ecocide
"The challenges that we face today in our dysfunctional food system will only truly be addressed when people start to connect the dots beyond agriculture per se. Mining can have a huge negative impact on food availability: when it removes productive farmland from farmers; when it consumes and contaminates vital water resources; when it works hand in hand with the corporations which control the industrial food system that places priority on the large-scale and global markets, not people, ecosystems and sustainability. The warnings of this report must be taken seriously. Organisations and groups of concerned citizens must work together to challenge the startlingly unsustainable growth of the mining industry that feeds avarice, undermining peoples food sovereignty".
Patrick Mulvany, Chair, UK Food Group
Read more endorsements of the report from voices including Michael Mansfield QC, Dr Vandana Shiva and Henk Hobbelink.