Hi! I wanted to share an event hosted by Engineering for Change that folks may be interested in ~
Date and Time
AUGUST 4, 2021, 12 PM ET
Mercury is used in artisanal mining to extract gold from ore, but when improperly handled, it is a pollutant that can compromise human health, ecosystems and the cultural heritage of local communities around the world.
Communities in southeast Colombia have mined gold manually for hundreds of years with minimal impact on local ecosystems. That changed in the past two decades, however. The means of gold extraction have transformed with the arrival of foreign actors who introduced new technologies, including extraction with mercury. Today, artisanal mining is more mechanized than manual, women are no longer as involved in the work as they once were, and environmental degradation has become a major issue. But perhaps the biggest threat has been the heavy usage of mercury. Mercury affects demographic groups differently, with effects among women, children, the elderly and the poor that exacerbate inequalities in social power dynamics. For the past five years, a transdisciplinary team of researchers from Colombia, Brazil and the United States have joined with social organizations from La Toma, in southwest Colombia, to assess the problem of mercury contamination. Their findings are shared with mining communities to help mitigate the social and environmental changes linked to the pollution. For information on the project please see https://mercurioaltocauca.com/
In this Seminar, researchers will describe their work among gold mining communities in this region. They will outline their collaborative research process, and speak to the scientific, social and political challenges they face in addressing mercury contamination.