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Research shows community resistance wins

Photo: thechronicleherald.ca
Photo: thechronicleherald.ca

An empirical case analysis of 50 mining projects worldwide conducted by Daniel Franks and researchers at the Brisbane-based Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That report says, “Publicly available information about cases of prolonged or escalated company–community conflict around mining operations were analyzed (n = 50)… A first empirical finding is that the most common proximate issues—those that the parties to conflict presented as the central issues in dispute—were environmental… A second finding is that the feasibility and construction stages of projects are overrepresented in the proportion of conflicts that led to the suspension and abandonment of projects… A third finding is that company–community conflict related to mining tends to escalate from campaigns and procedural actions (such as complaints or grievances lodged with governments, companies, tribunals, or courts) through to physical protest. …Half of the cases analyzed involved a project blockade (25 of 50) … and around one-third a fatality (21 of 50), damage to private property (17 of 50), or the suspension and abandonment of the project (15 of 50).”

Notably, the report adds, “Our findings suggest that any reduction of appropriate oversight of social and environmental performance has the potential to lead to substantial costs for the industry in the medium- to long-term through heightened risk of company–community conflict.” This is notable because it’s precisely the dynamic Stephen Harper is creating in this country as he mistakenly guts every environmental protection in order to expedite or make possible massively destructive tar sands and pipeline projects.

We also know experientially that communities win when they resist. Some of those wins that we’ve noted our website just this year alone include:

Goldenkey abandons plans to drill in Lethbridge
Tay Township votes to be a blue community!
Nanaimo city council rejects incinerator at Duke Point
London reserves right to vote on CETA as it relates to their city
Ontario to pull the plug on private blood clinics
Tsilhqot’in Nation stops the New Prosperity mine
Hamilton passes resolution against hydraulic fracking
Bridgewater recognizes the right to water, opposes privatization
Hamilton to become Canada’s second ‘sanctuary’ city
Ontario health care workers awarded contract
Wisconsin rejects permit for oil loading dock on Lake Superior
High-level nuclear waste dump ruled out for Saugeen Shores
Mexico imposes tax on soft drinks to provide drinking water

It’s also heartening to know that polls show that protest movements are popular with Canadians, for more on that click here.

More to come!