By Nick Magel
September 1, 2011
In recent weeks, hundreds of Costco customers have flooded Costco s Facebook page to urge them to reject dirty or irresponsibly mined gold and to commit to switching to more ethically produced metals. The wholesale chain one of the nation s leading jewelry retailers has failed to respond, and environmental and human rights campaigners are turning up the heat.
This week, Earthworks No Dirty Gold Campaign and change.org are urging Costco customers to call the company s headquarters in Issiquah, WA, to tell CEO James Sinegal it s time to sign the Golden Rules, principles for more responsible mining that respect human rights, adopt fair labor standards, and minimize harm to the environment. To date, more than 80 leading jewelry retailers including Sears/Kmart, Target, and Tiffany & Co. have signed on to the Golden Rules principles. Customers are asking why Costco is lagging behind other major retailers in ensuring that the gold it sells is not tainted with human rights abuses or pollution.
Right now, Costco cannot tell its customers whether the gold in their display cases is coming at the cost of safe working conditions or from mines with cyanide spills that are poisoning communities' drinking water, said Nick Magel, coordinator of the No Dirty Gold campaign. Costco customers deserve better, and communities near mine sites deserve better.
By Gwen Lachelt
August 31, 2011
I loved watching Josh Fox's (Gasland filmmaker) presentation on You Tube last week at the New York hearing on hydraulic fracturing. I was cheering him on from my desk in Durango, Colorado, as he challenged the notion that oil and gas regulation is an answer to the impacts caused by reckless oil and gas development across the United States.
August 30, 2011
Spawning salmon in Hanson Creek.
Photo: Nick Hall
It s no surprise that there is overwhelming concern over the impact of the proposed Pebble Mine on the Bristol Bay salmon fishery. It s the world s largest wild salmon fishery, and the economic engine for the region.
Anglo American, the UK-based company proposing the mine, says that mining and salmon can co-exist, and they point to the Fraser River as an example of that.
These two river systems are so different it s an odd comparison. But, more importantly, it completely undermines (no pun intended) their case.
A new paper by two fisheries biologists reports that impaired water quality and human development changes have resulted in the lowest productivity of Fraser River sockeye in over 50 years!
By Nick Magel
August 29, 2011
We know you care about human rights, fair labor, and environmental protection.
It's time for Costco, one of the nation's leading gold retailers, to step up and use their purchasing power to help transform the gold industry.
Right now they are not.
You've swamped Costco's Facebook, now it's time to swamp their phones! We need to make sure Costco not only hears our demands for clean gold practices, but also listens. By signing on to the No Dirty Gold Campaign's Golden Rules, Costco would show their commitment to clean gold.
Unfortunately, Costco is content with its current policies; they don't see a reason to sign on to the Golden Rules. But with your help, we can change their minds.
August 26, 2011
Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of Josh Fox s Oscar nominated documentary Gasland . The film describes the public health problems associated with the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking and contains powerful images of the spontaneous combustion of household tap water.
The words natural gas belies the hazardous process used to procure it. In fracking, toxic chemicals are injected in to the ground designed to break apart the geological formations and release the gas within. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that can inject hazardous materials in to underground drinking water supplies. This is because they benefit from the Halliburton loophole created by former Vice President Cheney s energy task force that exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
A number of states have passed disclosure laws requiring these companies to report which chemicals they use. Wyoming, the first state to require disclosure, appears now to be bowing to industry s desire to keep 146 fracking chemicals secret citing their proprietary interests. According to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, regulators have granted disclosure exemptions to 11 different companies that frack in Wyoming.