by Greg Klein | July 21, 2015
Imagine life without mining or other resource extraction. Vancouver Sun writer Stephen Hume tried, and found it inconceivable. “Virtually every second of every day you rely on minerals that are obtained only two ways—through some form of mining or extraction and subsequent processing that relies on other minerals or through the recycling of materials initially manufactured from the former.”
Such is the intricate nature of our reliance that Hume had to focus largely on just one product to demonstrate our debt to mining. He chose an icon of environmental commitment: “Bicycles, unless you ride one you made yourself from bamboo, lashings of hemp and dried banana peels, are entirely manufactured from materials obtained by mining—steel processed by burning metallurgical coal, perhaps lightened by adding specialized metals like titanium; plastic and synthetic rubber obtained from petroleum products.”
Hume makes no defence for poor environmental stewardship and emphasizes the industry’s responsibilities. But he points out that we’re all in this together. Even the most environmentally conscious activists depend strongly on products made possible by an industry those people might revile.
Hume’s article has been re-posted by Resource Works, a non-profit British Columbia group encouraging a “respectful, fact-based dialogue on responsible resource development.”