Pro-mining propaganda comic from mid-1960s

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34 Responses to “Pro-mining propaganda comic from mid-1960s”

  1. teapot says:

    @#18: whoa.

    “In 1995, a large flock of migrating snow geese landed in the Berkeley Pit water and died, with 342 carcasses recovered.”

    “Necropsies showed their insides were lined with burns and festering sores from exposure to high concentrations of copper, cadmium, and arsenic.”

    …Excuse me while I spew a lil bit.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Earth First, We Will Mine Other Planets Later!

  3. Ugly Canuck says:

    Well we mine, that’s what we do, and always have done, for as long as there’s been people, it seems.
    But…we can do it right, or we can do it wrong.

    And now, an obscure – but great – rock song about mining:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Muosg1djmTs

    Working in the dark, down below, underneath.

  4. winkybb says:

    Nothing good about that Berkeley Pit situation, that’s for sure. But the standards of mining practice that we as consumers are prepared to pay for, has continued to improve since then.

  5. Beelzebuddy says:

    Strip mines: you think your iPhones grow on trees?

  6. holtt says:

    LOL @MonsterMan :)

  7. winkybb says:

    You can’t logically be “anti-mining” or “pro-mining”. Mining is an activity that we as a society undertakes to enable us to live the lives we choose. The mining and processing activities themselves directly affect only a very small percentage of the earth’s surface, especially when compared to farming and urbanisation. I mean, where is the approved rehabilitation plan for your suburb and local strip mall? What is the schedule for returning farmland to its natural state? What is the strategy for re-planting the clear-cut forests?

    Having said that, society (through the political process) ultimately determines the appropriate trade-off of environmental effects and mining costs. You may, or may not, agree with society’s current determination. As we get wealthier, we allocate a bigger slice to environmental protection. This seems logical, but I would argue that our current arrangements are unsustainable in the near term. Severe population control is necessary, and will occur one way or another in the next century. The only question is whether we choose to manage it, or do we have it foist upon us by environmental catastrophe and the ensuing resource wars?

    • Ambiguity says:

      The mining and processing activities themselves directly affect only a very small percentage of the earth’s surface, especially when compared to farming and urbanisation.

      Living in a big coal producing state, I assert (without too much fear of contradiction) that it is misleading — at best — to compare the things done in, say, Mountaintop removal, with, say, putting up a subdivision of similar size. Heck, even the EPA (which is a pretty bad steward, when it comes down to it), characterized the sludge-dam break at the Big Sandy in KY as “the biggest environmental disaster ever east of the Mississippi.” Surface are is a very bad metric of environmental impact!

      Having said that, society (through the political process) ultimately determines the appropriate trade-off of environmental effects and mining costs.

      In theory yes, but in practice the total costs of such operations are never fully expressed in the cost equation. Recently there has been much research on characterizing the “total cost” of goods and services (when they take into account remediation of environmental impact), and the “costs” that are incurred are horribly underestimated in the financial cost of the goods. If the true costs were represented, I think society would make different decisions based upon the more accurate calculus.

  8. Billy Green says:

    Not mining related, but propaganda related:

    Robert Flaherty (“Nanook of the North”)’s last film was “Louisiana Story.” It is a gorgeous black-and-white movie from 1948, beautifully photographed in the same semi-staged, semi-documentary style as “Nanook of the North” and “Man of Aran,” and Virgil Thomson’s score won the Pulitzer.

    But it feels like propaganda. It starts out with a little boy paddling around a bayou with his pet raccoon. Then someone starts to build an oil rig in the bayou near his home. It’s pretty horrific and noisy in its construction, but once it’s built, the man in charge brings the boy through the oil rig, shows him how it works and explains to him how wonderful it is that the oil rig is there, and how it will not destroy the local environment, and generally why oil drilling is a good and benevolent thing, no matter where it happens.

    Turns out it was commissioned by Standard Oil.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040550/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Story

    Opening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efCDe-ZH-Dk

    Oil rig: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiXl318VsP0

    Beautiful photography, beautiful music, but questionable thematic content. Certainly not the “documentary” that it is often referred to as being.

  9. RhileighAlmgren says:

    There’s another mining drama happening that isn’t going to end with a cathartic moment of vicarious triumph like the Chilean miner crisis. Four hundred children are confirmed dead in the last six months from lead poisoning in Nigeria; folks on the ground say the final number for these six months will be closer to 1000. Economic pressure and opportunism and corruption lead to informal/illegal mining, and lead in discarded ore is believed to be contaminating topsoil and water sources. Some survivors will have permanent damage from lead poisoning.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/africa/07nigeria.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=nigeria&st=cse

  10. Anonymous says:

    bassplayin,

    If the solutions to earth’s problems are in space but we are required to solve those problems before space, then wouldn’t the logical consequence be we just never solve the problems?

  11. pencilbox says:

    Also, you don’t have to look back to the 60′s for cartoon mining propaganda.

    Here’s a coloring book that’s currently offered (2010!) as part of the public school curriculum in Raleigh County, WV, for schools that take part in the “Coal In The Classroom” campaign:

    http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/LetsLearnAboutCoal.pdf

  12. millrick says:

    here’s some current mining propaganda about my old home town…

    “We have achieved our objective of returning to local stakeholders a healthy environment for which they can actively pursue other avenues of development.”

    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Xstrata-Copper-Demolition-Rehabilitation-Officially-Completed-Murdochville-Sandy-Beach-1332177.htm

    the mining company achieved their objective by removing contaminated topsoil from the neighbouring townsite, then running the soil through another smelter to remove, and sell, the heavy metals that had accumulated over 50 years.

  13. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Comment from a friend’s late grandmother:

    “We had every right to take this land from the Indians. They weren’t doing anything with it!”

  14. Crashproof says:

    I once toured a phsophate mine in Florida as part of an Environmental Geology class in college. The pathetic “look at all the nature!” stuff at the end of the tour, where they showed us a ridiculous golf course of a “reclaimed” area, was the most halfhearted attempt at greenwashing I have ever seen.

  15. winkybb says:

    Just having toured West Virginian coal mines, I was actually quite surprised at the very low level of aesthetic impact from the centuries of mining in the area. I do know aesthetics isn’t the only impact though. I never claimed that land area was the key metric of environmental impact, but just pointing out that land area directly affected is very small in a comparative sense.

    I fully agree that we do not fully take into account the total cost of goods and services. We are mining the future by under-estimating the long-term degradation. But this still does not lead to logical conclusion that mining is bad, or that one can have a logical “anti-mining” stance. All we can do is make choices as voters and consumers that leads to better outcomes. The first choice should be birth control.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you tour underground mines, or mountaintop removal operations? Traditional underground mines don’t have much aesthetic impact – the major environmental concerns from them are with watershed maintenance, primarily from acid drainage, which is fairly easy to manage when monitored properly.

      MTR, on the other hand, is a relatively new practice and has a huge impact, both aesthetically and ecologically. It may not be as easy to see after a few years of “reclamation,” but eliminating an entire peak and filling up surrounding streams is an oddity that’s very easy for someone familiar with the landscape (say, a native West Virginian like myself) to notice, even if the thin layer of topsoil is covered with healthy green grass.

      It’s funny to see that mining companies in this area are still basically using exactly the same rhetoric – “surface mining makes tons of great new areas for golf courses and buildings!”

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      Just having toured West Virginian coal mines, I was actually quite surprised at the very low level of aesthetic impact from the centuries of mining in the area.

      That might have something to do with western aesthetics, though. When you see a beautiful, sparkling, crystal clear West Virginia stream you are seeing the exquisite corpse of an ecosystem that once teemed with life – the most basic foundation of a riparian environment, water, has been acidified to the point where nothing native can live in it, and entire food chains have been disrupted from diatoms to large mammals.

      A stream without messy, ugly algae is dead and the repercussions of dead streams reach all the way to the Sargasso sea.

  16. Anonymous says:

    NASA identified an asteroid with more iron & nickel than the entire mining industry on Earth produces in 10 years.

    We don’t have to murder anybody to get it. We don’t need to blow up any mountains or destroy the ecosystem. It’s just floating there in space, waiting for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      That “it’s ours for the taking” mentality is to blame for our current state of affairs.

      If we extend it off planet, we’ve learned nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiHpfugCboI&feature=related
      I am a Space Pirate you know my name
      Asteroid mining is a dangerous game
      Imperial Navy can’t keep up my pace
      Chasing a rock into Zhodani space

      10 000 Credits is my humble price
      Whether Nickle/Iron, Stony or Ice
      Only the wayfaring patron will dare
      A merchant cruiser, a skyway corsair

      • Anonymous says:

        Right on with Slough Feg… but before we can mine asteroids, we need a way to get to space that isn’t going to destroy our atmosphere. I suspect other life forms are already zipping around doing just that, but we don’t get to play cause we’re savages they won’t allow off planet to spread our brand of baloney. First we have to clean up our room, and master electromagnetic levitation.

    • bassplayinben says:

      “NASA identified an asteroid with more iron & nickel than the entire mining industry on Earth produces in 10 years. We don’t have to murder anybody to get it. We don’t need to blow up any mountains or destroy the ecosystem. It’s just floating there in space, waiting for us.”

      Yes but we have to solve ALL of the problems here on Earth before we can turn our attention to space!

      (sorry, I just had to do it)

  17. MonsterMan says:

    That comic sums up my thoughts every time I play Minecraft. =)

  18. teapot says:

    Having said that, society (through the political process) ultimately determines the appropriate trade-off of environmental effects and mining costs.

    Yeah, cos money doesn’t talk and the political process is in no way influenced by big business, is it? Your little mining reach-around is cute.

    Mining companies just did a fantastic job in Australia bankrolling ads to fight proposed increases of mining tax. Their several-hunderd million dollar campaign sucessfully neutered the proposal and now the rest of the Australian population is going to suffer because our shitty government failed us by paying for the back-flip by not decreasing company tax by 2% as they were going to. That’s right… the rest of the economy can continue to pay for the crazy subsidies the mining industry already gets.

    I love the cry-baby BS that farming/mining communities come out with when there are any proposals for environmental reform. They go on about how ‘_____thousands of jobs will be lost and blah blah blah’. Well F you and your terrible little town that wouldnt exist without subsidy. I don’t give a shit if your family have been given a helping hand to rape the same land for generations. You have unfairly benefitted for too long and now it’s the environments turn for a fair go.

    • winkybb says:

      The mining companies used advertising to defeat the tax. If that isn’t reverting to societal/political judgements and standards, I don’t know what is. Perhaps here should have been a referendum? You claim the population will now suffer. Well that’s the compromise they chose. Personally, I’m glad to be out of Australia for ever with its short-sighted, small-minded attitude and policy .My point isn’t that mining companies are motivated by anything other than profit, or perhaps that they can be expected to have a motivation somehow above that determined by the combination of legislative compliance (stay out of jail, avoid fines, stay in business) and money. My point is that they operate in a political, social and business environment in which we consumers demand the cheapest possible goods and services. And we say “fuck everything else if it costs too much”. It is our fault, our problem and up to us to fix it . Don’t blame “companies” whatever you think they actually are.

      I too, do not give a shit about towns. Or “jobs”.

      If you’d said that they paid off politicians, government officials and bureaucrats, that would be something else. Corruption does distort the process. See “Hungarian tailings spill”.

      • pencilbox says:

        You claim the population will now suffer. Well that’s the compromise they chose.

        I disagree.

        It is the compromise chosen by the mining companies. The populations of areas effected by MTR mines have very little choice in the matter.

        Having (successfully) fought against a mountaintop removal mine in my former home of West Virginia, I can say from experience that the entire system of mining practices is skewed so heavily toward the mining companies that any referendum for public discourse is ineffective to the point of being virtually nonexistent.

        This includes the EPA and, most notably, the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection, a body who’s own name is the state’s best and most shining example of doublespeak. With the recent federal moratoriums on MTR excepted, these agencies have long been in the business of doing everything mining companies require of them. They are, in every sense, and nearly to a person, minions of the interests of MTR and its oligarchy of beneficiaries.

        I do agree with you that populations choose the cheapest energy available, but there are 2 problems with that paradigm:

        1) The choices available to citizens are offered by corporations where the interest lies solely in profit, without a structure to ensure that those choices are “good” by any other measure.

        and

        2) Large populations make the choice from the given options, far away from the consequences of those decisions, i.e. New York chooses to keep Appalachia poor, uneducated, and toxic.

        I, too, have toured reclaimed mines that look pretty good. But that’s one of the straw men that mining companies offer up as an argument for MTR. The biggest trouble we had with fighting the mine behind our town was that a) we weren’t layers, b) we weren’t biologists, c) we weren’t engineers, d) we didn’t have limitless funds or time, and e) we weren’t politicians. If our group had had these qualities, we would have had a better chance at stopping the mine before our stream died.

        I’m in favor of extractive industry. But I’m in favor of safer means of extraction. They don’t have to be more expensive, necessarily, but they do have to be less profitable.

      • teapot says:

        Perhaps (t)here should have been a referendum? You claim the population will now suffer. Well that’s the compromise they chose.

        If there had been a referendum, then your second sentence would be true. There was no referendum, so there was no real choice for the population at large. The extent of the coice the Australian public was offered was this:
        Vote Labor, get the shitty watered-down deal we are now stuck with.
        Vote Liberal, give the mining companies MORE tax cuts.
        (I didnt vote for either)

        The mining companies used advertising to defeat the tax
        That was my exact point. Not every cause or industry has a lobby or budget like the mining industry, so I don’t think duping the stupid masses into believing your lies particularly counts as true social/political pressure. Cigarettes kill us and cost our society a LOT of money. Despite this they are probably the most widely available product on the planet. Do you suppose the reason they are everywhere has anything to do with the billions of $ of annual profit cancer companies make?

        My point is that they operate in a political, social and business environment in which we consumers demand the cheapest possible goods and services.
        ..and they use their power to fuck us in the ass. A BB comments section is not the place to get into this, but I would contend that China’s copy-culture, which places more emphasis on appearance than function and quality, bears as much responsibility for the demand for lower prices as consumers.

        Rational consumers would rather pay $200 for something with a lifespan that is 3 years, but the option we are largely presented with these days is $100 for one that will last 13 months. Yes the consumer is partly to blame but the problem is: I can’t change the buying habits of the entire world. I can, however, be vocal when comapnies abuse their power – and I plan on continuing to do so.

        When that plane full of Australian mining execs crashed in Africa during the world cup I thought: Was all the money and screwing the planet worth it when your body was burning to a crisp in a rainy African jungle?

  19. knijon says:

    You learn something new everyday. Apparently, “land conservation” “means putting the land to the best possible use.”

    • mdh says:

      Correct, ‘preservation’ means no use. ‘conservation’ means some use, apparently up to and including terraforming, which is a bit further than I’ve seen the term pushed before,

  20. thunderhammer says:

    We laugh at this, but remember “drill here, drill now!” from a few years ago. There are still a lot of people who think these types of corporations have America’s best interest at heart. They show commercials in the west about natural gas drilling and how great it is because it creates jobs and reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil. People watch and believe.

    • sloverlord says:

      It does create jobs and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. The question is how heavily you want to weight those benefits versus having a toxic landscape that looks like it was firebombed.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Check out the Berkeley pit in Montana if you want to know what mining leaves behind once a company sucks a place dry and there is no more profit in putting anything back.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Pit

    tl;dr: It’s a lake of acid now.

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