The Right to Ruin

News of the Kangaluwi mines, owned by a Dubai conglomerate, reasserting its ‘right’ to ruin the Zambezi National Park, the southern portion of the Zambezi River Basin and all subsequent rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean as well all the land in between is beyond distressing. Sign the petition to stop this carnage now.

In the February 3 Daily Maverick, T.J. Kaunda, son of Zambia’s first president, writes: “I would like to say my bit about just how bad an idea it is to place a mine in or near our precious national parks. Zambia is being forced to allow exactly this and it threatens one of Zambia’s most treasured resources.

TJ contemplating the fate of Africa

“The story of the proposed Kangaluwi open-pit mine,” TJ writes, “which would operate right smack in the middle of the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), is full of twists and turns and throws up more questions than answers. The one thing we are sure about is that such a mine, in such a place, is a danger to life in our country, in our region, and in our world.

“Who are the owners of Kangaluwi anyway? No one really knows. (For a description of the changes of ownership and litigation surrounding the mine, see the Environmental Justice Atlas summary).

“Why do they want to put a mine in a beautiful national park where humans and wildlife have existed in harmony all these centuries, protected by our wise chiefs and kings? Truth be told, we don’t know. Why do they want to pour the inevitable waste, effluent, dirty chemicals and other pollutants into rivers which would port them into the Zambezi, polluting it and the Indian Ocean? We don’t know. Why would we allow a company with unknown owners and origins to ruin not only our lives but the lives of the people in the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well? We should not.

“God gave us this one planet to tend and be responsible for all that is in it. That includes the land, the water, the wildlife.

“The Zambezi River is a shared watercourse with the other SADC states. The LZNP is an integral part of the wider Zambezi basin which is the most significant shared resource in southern Africa contributing as it does to the environmental and socioeconomic development of the region.

Sign the Petition now!!!

“Sustainable management of this resource is crucial in securing the futures of the over 250 million people in the broader region that depend on it. Why would we pollute it? Anything threatening its ecosystem is a collective SADC issue. We in Zambia have no right to unilaterally encroach on the rights of the other countries just so that some unknown individuals can make a lot of money for themselves but leave us the blame.

“If the mine was to go ahead it would contaminate the water in the Zambezi delta and ruin the farming and fishing livelihoods of the communities who depend on it. The tourism sector in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique would be adversely and irreversibly affected. The Indian Ocean and its wildlife, already under threat from man-made pollution, would have one more burden to bear.”

The story’s the same: business interests are already destroying Congo rainforest, the second vital lung in our global body, they’re tearing out cobalt in the Katanga region and copper in Northern Zambia, convincing a tiny Pacific island to assert its ‘rights’ to destroy the ocean bed to get deep cobalt. It’s just a start of the list.

Does the world need more cell phones? Copper? Precious wood? Ivory from the heads of elephants and rhino? Do we need it at the expense of wild species, protected wildlife — ENTIRE RIVER BASINS? Or are we just too weakened by flaws in international law to protect us from the greed of corporate owners?

The venture will make a few of its Dubai owners richer and fatter than they’ve ever been so they can continue to build ski slopes in the desert and create artificial islands shaped like palm trees.

Whose right is it anyhow? It’s your right to speak for your planet! Sign the petition now! You don’t have to be Zambian to add your voice!

Sign the petition now to save this beautiful space. You don’t have to be Zambian to add your voice!

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