- Precious metals are often regarded as some of the world’s most beautiful materials objects, however, their manufacturing processes are anything but pretty. The luxury that comes with owning these materials is expensive not only financially, but also environmentally. Sourcing precious metals can come with extreme environmental and ethical impacts. The nature of mining destroys natural landscapes, displacing native plant, animal, and human populations while leaving behind immense amounts of waste, air, and water pollution. Toxic waste contamination, acid mine drainage, and mercury pollution all pose significant threats to the health of both the environment and humankind.
- The industry also profits immensely off of vulnerable communities. Many mining sites operate without consent on the land of generationally owned indigenous or rural communities that do not have access to legal protection or official ownership.
- Mining also poses risk for worker wellbeing, as jobs are traditionally underpaid and extremely dangerous. Mineworkers often have serious, long-term respiratory health issues due to the exposure hazards, and are not protected or compensated accordingly.
- Consider shopping for recycled precious metals, or look for credible organizations such as the Fairmined Initiative that ensure quality environmental and ethical standards for sourcing.