Gold mining is an activity that has been conducted for centuries across many parts of Zimbabwe due to the geological gold occurrences. Artisanal gold mining is rampant and sporadically spread out across all the provinces of Zimbabwe. This article focuses on artisanal mining in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe and is just but a glimpse of similar artisanal mining activities taking place across the whole country, with little to no environmental protection.
The loss of biodiversity, land degradation far outweighs the supposed profits from gold mining (though the artisanal miners are doing it for survival) which will affect them greatly when the gold deposits are depleted. Since this kind of mining is sporadic unregistered and unregulated with no checks, inspections, monitoring and evaluation of compliance, land restoration is left to nature, creating a negative impact on the environment.
Artisanal miners have caused so much environmental damage for gold quantities far less than 1 point. On average artisanal miners get between 2 points of gold to 1 gram (10 points make one gram on a gold scale).
Using a futures thinking approach, the ecosystem will be destroyed and due to lack of compliance, the health of the mine workers is greatly at risk. The activities are labour intensive involving carrying 40-50kg sacks on their backs for long distances. With lack of medical aid, pensions or savings, the artisanal miners and the ecosystem are negatively impacted.
We need inclusive growth that is sustainable. Inspired by the side event on communication and the WWF Africa futures thinking concept, I have come up with an idea that involves creating animation series that are mainstream, educative, fun, interesting, informative, exciting and speaking the truth of the realities. Awareness of the Aichi biodiversity targets could be spread through this channel targeting high school and university students.
Imagine an animation series that is factual, based on real life stories from different regions, continents and countries that will be aired and shared on the mainstream social media platforms, notably Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and twitter. Following from the deforestation and land degradation as a result of artisanal mining, the series will show what the ending will be like if we continue on that path with bursts of visions of the future and if everyone is made aware of biological diversity loss as a result of industrialization (greed), lack of political will to act and an indifference by citizens to protect and sustainably use our natural resources.
In conclusion, the recently concluded UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 14), has challenged me as a young person and given me an opportunity to bring about awareness of biodiversity loss and its impacts, in the present and in the future using my personal social media accounts and discussing these issues within our circles, communities, nations and the world.
CYNESA Deputy Executive Director.