The Cycle of Gold

The Cycle of Gold

The Madre de Dios, or “Mother of God” region, of southeastern Peru, where the Amazon rainforest meets the eastern slope of the Andes, is one of the most critical biodiversity hotspots on Earth. This area is the headwaters regions of the Amazon River which carries 20%...
Mining for Gold in the Amazon

Mining for Gold in the Amazon

Artist Natalie Jeremijenko, who visited the University of Virginia this spring, posed a question to a group of us during the course Environmental Art Activism: do you have anything on your person for which you can describe the origins of all the materials, and the...
Peru’s New Cocaine

Peru’s New Cocaine

GOLD HAS BECOME SOUTH AMERICA’S MOST ILLICIT COMMODITY Peru has the second-largest amount of rain forest in the world, but swaths of it are rapidly disappearing. Illegal gold mining—farmers digging up ore and selling it on the black market, so that it may eventually...
Environmental Impact of Illegal Mining

Environmental Impact of Illegal Mining

Illegal mining in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is having a severe impact on the environment. According to Juan José Córdova, leader of the energy sector at KPMG Peru, “it is estimated that 30 to 40 [metric] tons of mercury are dumped into the environment annually...