Mining Companies Want To Drill In The Deepest Parts Of The Ocean

When we think of mining, we think of deep holes in the ground or tunnels being dug into mountainsides in the quest for gold and other resources. That alone does great harm to the planet, but now mining companies want to get their drills to the deepest parts of the ocean, too.

Mining pollution is a major problem in our world today. So much so, that it took a court to stop a company from mining in Yellowstone National Park, thus preventing certain pollution of land and water and the killing of wildlife that rely on both.

Seriously, mining disasters are numerous and have poisoned rivers and lands across the nation and around the world. And it’s only going to get worse unless we stop it because companies are now turning their gaze to the ocean.

We already know how this scenario will end. After all, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform suffered a catastrophic spill several years ago that contaminated the entire Gulf of Mexico. Who knows what companies will find under the seabed that could poison the ocean and the already vulnerable ecosystems it supports.

Chris Packham, a naturalist and television presenter who worked on the Blue Planet Live docuseries, wrote an op-ed warning about just how disastrous mining in the deep ocean could turn out.

“They want to send gigantic bulldozers, decked out with rotating grinders and mammoth drills straight out of Robot Wars, into the deepest parts of the ocean, disturbing the home of unique creatures and churning up vital stores of carbon. This is quite clearly an awful idea,” he wrote.

Indeed, the last thing our planet needs is more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. The greenhouse gas is the main cause of global temperatures rising to an alarming high that would trigger uncontrolled climate change.

“Far too often, industry has plundered the natural world before science has explored and understood its importance,” Packham continued. “Parts of the deep sea have already been ravaged by destructive fisheries. These ecosystems stand practically no chance of recovery if mining is allowed to start. Researchers who returned 30 years later to one mining test site on the Pacific sea floor could still see the wounds on the seabed – and warned of irreversible loss of some ecosystem functions.”

In fact, scientists would lose the opportunity to discover many new species that live in the deep unexplored parts of the ocean. And we would all have to watch as those unknown species are destroyed before we even get a chance to learn about them.

And it’s not just those species we haven’t discovered. Species we already know and love will also be negatively impacted.

“[T]he damage won’t stay hidden in the depths,” Packham wrote. “Toxic pollution from mining operations could travel hundreds or even thousands of miles, impacting the broader ocean food chain. And by disturbing the natural processes that store carbon in deep-sea sediments, deep-sea mining could even make climate change worse. When a million species are already at risk of extinction and climate change is fundamentally altering our planet – why would we sink to new depths, and make it all worse?

He’s not wrong. A recent United Nations report does warn that one million species are at risk of extinction because of humans. Mining the deep sea could be the tipping point that brings the whole planet down.

“We’ve already seen the huge destruction ravaged upon our planet by corporations mining on land,” Packham concluded. “Are we really prepared to give the go-ahead to the mining industry expanding into a new frontier, where it will be even harder for us to scrutinize the damage caused?”

The people of the world must unite and demand that our oceans be off-limits to the mining industry. They may not care about the environment, but we all need the environment if we want to continue to survive on the only planet we have. Killing the oceans would be killing ourselves.

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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