CAFOD’s Golden Rules for gold mining are laudable, and I doubt that any reasonable person could disagree with them. The problem with CAFOD is that these rules are not what you see in the advertisements – only a headline-grabbing: “Gold mining is one of the world’s dirtiest industries”. That is all that 90% or more readers of the ads will register from the campaign. Only the small percentage who go further and read their many web pages on the subject will see the golden rules and what the campaign is supposed to be about.
Although green activists tend to say things like ‘pollution damage the poor most’, they tend give insufficient weight to the fact that capitalist mining and industry – brutal as it may be – provide real jobs to people who might otherwise have had none.
The only way for green activists (who are almost exclusively from wealthy backgrounds and countries), to avoid trampling on the employment needs of the poor, is to involve them in the campaign – from planning to execution. In this way a sensational headline such as the one CAFOD chose could have been avoided.
I have written to CAFOD about this, and I assume that their lack of response does indeed mean they have not consulted anyone from gold mining communities.