What do Mining and Gardening Have in Common?

Even the most diverse projects in different parts of the world tend to share some communalities in terms of context. And sometimes, recognizing these can be very sobering. Two recent assignments in the lawn and garden sector in North America (ScottsMiracle-Gro) and the mining sector in Central Asia (Centerra Gold's Kumtor mine) drove home the importance of climate change issues.

Contributing to a corporate responsibility report in the lawn/garden sector (see Prizma Supported ScottsMiracle-Gro with 2011 Corporate Responsibility Reporting) made me – literally – take a moment and smell the roses. It made me also consider my purchasing choices as a consumer and the impacts of urban sprawl. I also noted the many activities and the supply chain involved in providing me with a bag of fertilizer and growing media. After all, I don’t want to embarrass the Joneses next door who have such a nice yard...!

One thing which caught my eye during my research was this little piece of news form the Daily Climate: the U.S. Department of Agriculture had to redraft its Plant Hardiness Zone Map given changes in average temperatures that have shifted planting zones northward. The previous map was issued not too long ago - in 1990. The article quotes Charlie Nardozzi of the National Gardening Association: “Hopefully the new map will clear up a lot of confusion about what’s happening to the climate.” It made me wonder how will this map look like in 20 years?

The same issue was on my mind when, in an effort to understand concerns being raised by advocacy NGOs about the scale and significance of impact of a mining company on biodiversity and glaciers (see here and here), I came across some sobering findings. These were presented in the the Kyrgyz Republic's 2nd National Communication to United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (or UN FCCC for short).

As many of you will know, Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country located in Central Asia - and the origin/source of freshwater for some of its neighbouring countries that continue to suffer from wastage related to Soviet-era agricultural approaches and dilapidated water infrastructure.

One of the maps in Kyrgyzstan's study shows the predicted state of glaciation in 2025 compared to a glacier catalogue developed in the 1960s . In this map (copied below), extinct glaciers are marked with red and extant (remaining) glaciers are marked with dark blue.  It seems to me that you don't have to be Al Gore to see what's going on here. This UN submission also notes that for the Kyrgyz “Republic as a whole, the reduction of glaciation area from 64 percent up to 95 percent from year 2000 till year 2100 is predicted, depending on the accepted variant of climatic scenario.”

Perhaps time to go and smell the roses or, better still, time to wake up and smell the coffee….

3 Comments to What do Mining and Gardening Have in Common?

  1. As a member of LEAD, cohort 2, México, I would like to invite you to work together on this issue: the impact of the canadian mining in México. Maybe you know that our country has become one of the most important place for the canadian mining corporation, and our peasants and indian people are trying to stop the environmental impact of the gold mining.
    I hope you will read this message, because I believe in the LEAD Community.
    Best Regards,
    Hipolito Rodríguez

  2. […] Assessment by Prizma, which covered this and other topics (such as transparency, water quality, glaciers, geotechnical issues and mine closure), highlights that part of the information contained in the […]

  3. […] of conversations with the Commission included snow lepard/biodiviersty issues, impacts on glaciers, potential acid rock drainage and mine closure. As discussed in Prizma’s assessment in greater […]

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