What is Global Solidarity?
Global solidarity is the idea that we possess strength in numbers; that the support of one movement can bolster the success of another. In a world inhabited by mega-corporations and conglomerates, we often find that struggles are being shared by others, that the exploitation is far bigger reaching than we could ever imagine. The Global Solidarity project aims to connect with activists fighting against corporate interests and see how or if we can offer genuine, productive support.
What is the purpose of the Global Solidarity project?
The intent behind the Global Solidarity project is to spread awareness about the operations of multinational companies and to help expose Canada’s role at the forefront of the global climate emergency. Canada is the industry powerhouse: Canadian mining accounts for 75% of all mining companies. This is what hides behind the facade of sustainability that Canada projects to the rest of the world. As a major contributor to pollution and climate change, it can no longer pretend to be a beacon of sustainability whilst exploiting the natural resources of other countries.
Why is this important?
As a group, we researched Canadian multinational firms involved in extractivist operations overseas, to shine a light on their ecological damage in the countries in question. Within only an hour of research, we found twelve different Canadian companies exploiting natural resources all over the world. Their actions have a long-lasting impact on the surrounding communities, where vital resources are poisoned, and entire towns are uprooted or destroyed. The Canadian government’s persistent negligence has allowed Canadian companies to behave recklessly and dangerously abroad, as well as damaging First Nations’ land.
The Myth of Sustainable Mining
Mining a finite supply is an inherently unsustainable endeavour, but the enormous environmental cost of the industry means that any so-called “sustainable” plans for mining can never truly reach that goal.
Based in Toronto, Barrick Gold Corporation is a Canadian mining company operating in 13 different countries, extracting gold, silver, and copper. They made over CAD 12.8 billion in revenue last year as the second-largest gold producer in the world. Unlike other companies, Barrick Gold is invested in sustainable mining. Through their programs of poisoning entire water supplies, arson and widespread violence, Barrett Gold can proudly declare themselves a “sustainable company” on their website.
Some of Barrick Gold’s sustainable promises include conducting business with integrity and fairness, empowering local communities and reducing environmental impacts. It is almost enough to make us forget about the fact that these words are meaningless and entirely untrue. Barrick Gold is notorious for its dangerous and entirely detrimental practices; unless their promises are a synonym for the destruction of ecosystems, mass human rights violations and corruption, Barrick Gold’s sustainable mission is nothing more than a smokescreen for their devastating wrongdoing.
In March 2014, Barrick Gold spilled over one million litres of cyanide solution into five rivers near Barrick’s Veladero site in the San Juan province of Argentina. Barrick Gold didn’t report the spill immediately but instead waited six days. Moreover, they initially refused to identify the leaked chemical solution as containing cyanide. As a result, some Argentine provinces have now banned mining processes that involve cyanide.
Barrick Gold is just one example of how destructive these companies can be in the pursuit of profit. Despite what websites may say, the label “sustainable” is not always true. The Global Solidarity project aims to outline the behaviour of these powerful companies because they are the ones primarily contributing to the climate emergency. Corporate actions today decide whether we have a tomorrow.