On October 24th, 2023 from 3-5pm, non-profit organization Amazon Aid and the Andrew Sabin Family Center for Environment and Sustainability will present an in-person panel at Wake Forest University.

Titled “Gilded or Green: How Gold Impacts The Amazon & Why We Should Care,” the panel addresses the immense and complex impact of gold mining on the Amazon rainforest, and looks at how local and global demand for gold intersects with humanitarian and environmental crises. The discussion will focus on substantive and transformational change of the global supply chain and how building relationships between seemingly unlikely partners while committing to appreciating nuance and practicing empathy, can bridge the gap between understanding and action.

The panelists will explore perspectives – from lived experience to informed areas of study – to carve a path toward cleaner gold and an Amazon free of destructive mining.

The panelists are:

Gina D’Amato

Gina D’Amato

Executive Director, Alliance for Responsible Mining

Gina D’Amato is a specialist in international cooperation, rural development, and global change. With experience working with UN refugees, peace-building processes and Sustainable Development projects in Colombia. Currently, she leads the Alliance for Responsible Mining, an NGO that seeks to transform the lives of artisanal and small-scale miners around the globe.

D’Amato has worked with vulnerable population inclusion processes with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR. She also worked as Education and Culture Director of the Botanical Garden in Medellin, and she was Touristic Development Director of the Governor’s Office of Antioquia. She has a holistic view of development and a participative and innovative leadership style that will strive to consolidate ARM strategies, visibility of social and environmental impacts on communities where the organization has presence, and the enhancement of mineral supply chains that comply with CRAFT and Fairmined Standards.

Jupta Itoewaki

Jupta Itoewaki

CEO and president of Mulokot Foundation

Jupta Itoewaki lives in Suriname, South America. She is an Indigenous woman from the Wayana People living in the remote southern region of the country. She has served her community for more than a decade as a facilitator, trainer, interpreter and assistant of the Paramount Chief. She is the president of Mulokot Foundation, a community-based organization set up to support the Wayana People and help achieve their development aims.

Itoewaki has a background in social cultural education and has received additional training on biodiversity, sustainable forest management, human rights, primary health care and gender mainstreaming. In 2018, she was the first Wayana to be selected as a fellow by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nation and participated in the annual Indigenous Fellowship Program. In 2020, she was the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award for her work in the field of environmental protection.

Miles Silman

Miles Silman

Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Professor of Conservation Biology; and Founding Director, Andrew Sabin Family Center for Environment and Sustainability at Wake Forest University

Miles R. Silman is Professor of Conservation Biology at the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and Founding Director of the Andrew Sabin Family Center for Environment and Sustainability at Wake Forest University. He is an ecologist and researcher interested in the study of life and its distribution in the world, both in space and through time, understanding the roles and interactions between species in the structuring of the world we see and inhabit.
Silman has been working in the Western Amazon and the Andes for the past 25 years to not only understand but also protect the world’s last forests. Silman’s conservation projects include work on tropical agriculture, remediation of soils degraded by gold mining, and monitoring and evaluation of deforestation. The results of their research on Andean and Amazonian forests have been used to generate private and public ecosystem services projects that change land use by generating income for conservation and creating economic and social value for people living in the region.

Justin Catanoso

Moderator Justin Catanoso

Wake Forest University, Professor of the Practice, and Writer for Mongabay

Justin Catanoso teaches journalism and is a North Carolina-based journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering climate change, health care, science, economic development and business. He is the winner of the Science-in-Society Award and N.C. Press Association award for public service for his coverage of fraud in the tobacco industry in the early 1990s.

Since 2015, Catanoso has been a regular contributor to Mongabay, an international environmental news organization, for which he covers climate change and climate policy. After 13 years as founding executive editor of The Business Journal in Greensboro, N.C., Catanoso is now Professor of Journalism at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.