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Anna Cederstav's blog

Floods, like this one in Peru, cause devastating human impacts.

This is a guest blog post by Astrid Puentes, a Colombian attorney who together with Anna co-directs AIDA.  Earthjustice is a founding partner of AIDA, an organization that uses the law to protect the right to a healthy environment in the Americas, with a focus on Latin America.  This blog is also posted in Spanish on the AIDA website  and on the International Law Gir

Many of us wear gold jewelry, and almost all of us use electronic devices that contain small amounts of gold. And of course, people who invested in gold have reaped a nice profit as the price of gold has almost doubled during the past three years. But do we ever think about what that gold is REALLY worth – what the true human and environmental costs of that gold are?

In a bold and precedent-setting move, Costa Rica has prohibited all future open-pit metal mining! Environmentalists are celebrating the passage of the new law, which—approved unanimously by the Costa Rican Congress—establishes Costa Rica as a country that is "free from open-pit metal mining."

Costa Rica is the first country in the Americas to recognize the severity of the environmental and economic harms caused by open-pit mining, and to say no to future open pit mines.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Don Federico, a Panamanian fisherman who has spent more than 26 years at sea and has thousands of stories to share. He told us what it was like when he first began fishing:

"We saw dolphins, whales, sharks and turtles everywhere. Out of ignorance, the fishing boats would catch and kill upwards of 300 dolphins per day, and the children would play with turtle eggs on the beaches."

Now, less than three decades later, Don Federico explained that there is none of that.

Most environmentalists believe that nature has a right to exist for its own sake, but that's not how the law works in our country.

In the United States, nature is defensible only if a human will miss the forest, species, or clean water when it is gone. To use the law, a human must first prove harm to their person.

If that proverbial tree falls in the woods and no human cares, no laws were broken. But if a tree falls and the hiker who depended on its shade is harmed, the U.S. legal system may provide some relief.

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.