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Is love enough: justification for harming the environment

by Brianna Bush - Editor-in-Chief
Wed, Feb 19th 2020 02:00 pm
People in Angola, Africa, are being sent to work in diamond mines at a very young age.  Not only is this inhumane it is causing harm to the earth we live on.
People in Angola, Africa, are being sent to work in diamond mines at a very young age. Not only is this inhumane it is causing harm to the earth we live on.

Marriage proposals have been a tradition between two people who have a mutual attraction, usually when someone proposes it involves a ring. On that ring usually sits a gem or two. What many don’t know is the environmental impact extracting precious stones has on the planet.

“A century of reckless diamond mining has taken a heavy toll on Angola’s environment,” according to BrilliantEarth.com. “Irresponsible diamond mining has caused soil erosion, led to deforestation and forced local populations to relocate. Angola’s diamond industry has been particularly careless in protecting rivers and streams from exploitation. Diamond miners have re-routed rivers and constructed dams to expose riverbeds for mining, with disastrous effects on fish and wildlife.” 

Many of the surrounding flora and wildlife are being removed and / or relocated — when you remove something from its environment, its chances of survival lower. In extreme cases of diamond mining, entire ecosystems have been known to collapse.

“Wildlife has vanished, topsoil has eroded and land once suitable for farming is now a desolate moonscape,” according to BrilliantEarth.com. “The mining pits have created a public health disaster as well. When the pits fill with stagnant rainwater, they become infested with mosquitoes, spreading malaria and other water-borne diseases.” 

There are certain actions that can be taken to make sure the environment stays intact. In comparison to other forms of mining extracting, diamond mining isn’t normally harmful to the environment. A mining company that utilizes the regulated rules and practices doesn’t use harmful chemicals.

“Despite serious environmental risks, effective regulation and proper planning can minimize diamond mining’s environmental impact,” according to BrilliantEarth.com. “The Canadian Arctic is a very fragile ecosystem, but it is heavily regulated to protect the surroundings. Namibia and Botswana have been similarly successful in implementing environmental safeguards in their diamond mines.”

According to National Geographic, “A quadrillion tons of diamond may be hiding beneath your feet.” With the amount of diamonds still beneath us, we have to consider if we want to risk environmental catastrophe just for a few shiny stones.

A few things to consider before purchasing your next diamond accessory: where the stone came from, what type it is and how it was extracted from the earth. According to National Geographic, most diamonds are found using seismometers to determine where the gemstones are located. 

“The stiffness, temperature, density and composition of the rock all affect how these waves travel through it,” according to National Geographic. “So by examining our planet’s shivers, researchers can estimate what hides inside — no mega-drills needed.”

While the extraction of generic diamonds is seen as safe for people, getting hands on blood diamonds is a danger for all parties involved. Blood diamonds refer to the pink diamonds found in Sierra Leone and the Congo River.

“In 2003 the diamond industry established the Kimberley Process, an international certification system designed to reassure consumers that the diamonds they bought were conflict-­free,” Time stated. “But more than 10 years later, while the process did reduce the number of conflict diamonds on the market, it remains riddled with loopholes, unable to stop many diamonds mined in war zones or under other egregious circumstances from being sold in international markets.”

Children and young adults were sent to the mines instead of school because the cost of school is too high. Diamond mining, even outside the war zones was brutal work. Many children have died or have become ill because of the harsh conditions they worked under and in some places continue to work in.

Next time you decided to go out and buy a ‘rock’ for your significant other, ask the origin of the stone because you never know who or what was damaged in the process. If we plan to stay on this earth and remain safe, we need to sustain to remain.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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