Showing posts with label neoliberalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label neoliberalism. Show all posts

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book Publication: Mining and Natural Hazard Vulnerability in the Philippines: Digging to development or digging to disaster?


Back Cover Information
 "This text provides an exhaustive and engaging review of the literature surrounding issues of development in the Philippines. Holden and Jacobson leave no stone unturned as they uncover some of the most detrimental effects of modern mining practices on the surrounding natural environment and human communities."
- Professor Kathleen Nadeau, California State University, San Bernardino
"This book speaks well of mining disasters that are accelerated and amplified by natural hazards in the Philippines such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I recommend this superb work to the general public and readers of specific interest on mining especially those with similar situations in their own countries."
Dr Emelina Regis, Director of the Institute for Environmental Conservation
and Research, Ateneo de Naga University


"Empirically grounded and theoretically informed, Holden and Jacobsen provide a compelling and powerful study of the hazards of neoliberalism and of environmental politics more broadly." — Dr James Tyner, Professor of Geography, Kent State University


The archipelago of the Philippines is well endowed with nonferrous mineral resources, and in recent years the Filipino government, acting under the influence of the dominant and seemingly ubiquitous neoliberal development paradigm, has liberalized its mining laws in order to accelerate economic development. Yet the Philippines is also a country highly prone to a variety of natural hazards - including earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, typhoons and El  Nino-induced droughts - that have the ability to interact adversely with mining's potential for environmental degradation. Thus, there are great dangers inherent in pursuing such a development paradigm: earthquakes can destabilize tailings storage facilities, typhoons can  flood tailings ponds, and mine-pit dewatering can enhance the competition for groundwater resources during droughts. This study explores how these hazards amplify the environmental harm prevalent in mining, and reveals the substantial threat they pose to the livelihoods of the archipelago's poor - who are dependent upon subsistence agriculture and subsistence aquaculture - as well as the inadequacies of the institutions designed to protect their environment.

Ecclesial Opposition to Nonferrous Metals Mining in Guatemala and the Philippines: Neoliberalism Encounters the Church of the Poor

Holden, W. N. and Jacobson, R.D. (2011) Ecclesial Opposition to Nonferrous Metals Mining in Guatemala and the Philippines: Neoliberalism Encounters the Church of the Poor. In Brunn S. (ed.) Engineering Earth, Volume 3 pp 383-411, Springer Netherlands.


In recent years, as a result of the prevailing neoliberal development paradigm and the influence of the World Bank, many countries in the developing world have liberalized their mining laws to attract investment into their economies. In both Guatemala and the Philippines, governments have revised mining laws in an attempt to encourage more investment. This chapter discusses the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to the neoliberal policies enacted by the governments of those countries to encourage the extraction of nonferrous metals by multinational corporations. The chapter begins with a discussion of the countries’ mineral
resources (and efforts of the respective governments to encourage mining), and then discusses the ecclesial opposition to mining in the two countries; the chapter concludes with a discussion of how neoliberalism is encountering the church of the poor. This research finds its home within the discipline of geography, as one of
human geography’s core areas is the relationship between people and their environment, and conflicts about mining are conflicts about different understandings of human-nature relationships.


The Roman Catholic Church: committed to the poor in Guatemala

Jacobson, R.D and Holden, W.N.  (2010) The Roman Catholic Church: committed to the poor in Guatemala. The Canadian Geographer / Le G´eographe canadien, 54 (3), 378-380. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0064.2009.00295_2.x
The coexistence of conservative and liberation perspectives within the Roman Catholic Church still causes disagreements. However, since Vatican II, the Catholic Church in Guatemala has established a commitment to act as a church of the poor. There is tension between Guatemala’s elite and the Church, which has led to the murders of Church members and the issuance of death threats to others. Although the growth of evangelical movements has caused the Church to lose influence, the Church remains committed to the poor, which places it in sharp contradistinction to neoliberalism.

Ecclesial Opposition to Nonferrous Mining in Guatemala

Holden, W.N. and Jacobson, R.D. (2009) Ecclesial Opposition to Nonferrous Mining in Guatemala” Neoliberalism Meets the Church of the Poor in a Shattered Society. The Canadian Geographer / Le G´eographe canadien, 53 (2), 145-164.


Guatemala, a nation plagued by the legacy of its brutal 36-year civil war, has, in recent years liberalized its mining law to encourage the entry of multinational mining corporations. These mining companies have included two Canadian companies, which have developed the two most prominent, and controversial, mining projects in Guatemala. Using the lens of political ecology to demonstrate how environmental analysis and policy can be reframed towards addressing the problems of the socially vulnerable, this article analyses the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to mining in Guatemala. The article reviews the development of liberation theology in Latin America and how this has imparted empathy for the poor into the pastoral praxis of the church.The church is opposed to mining largely because of the potential implications of mining’s environmental effects upon the livelihoods of the poor. The article postulates that the opposition of the church to mining is an example of an environmental issue connecting groups of people across class and ethnic lines to offset powerful global political and economic forces. The article concludes with a discussion of how this opposition to mining is a demonstration of the  opposition of the progressive church to neoliberalism in general.