I remember, many years ago, being taken on a tour of the Bingham Canyon Mine (Kennecott) in Utah, the United States. It’s promoted as a tourist attraction. I was proudly told that this was the largest (deepest) open pit copper mine in the world. It resembled a vast moon crater, up close. Monstrous trucks moved around. Two or three miles across, on the other side of the mine, they looked like small toys.
I have written a number of times before about the impact of bauxite mining on our small island. Dr. Esther Figueroa, a Jamaican environmental activist filmmaker, has been examining this issue for some time. I remember we stood high on a hilltop in St. Elizabeth last year, looking down on the smoking chimneys and rust-colored, expanding toxic “mud lake” in Nain, St. Elizabeth, where the bauxite and alumina processing plant owned by Alpart/JISCO lies. In dry weather, dust blows off the lake, endangering the health of nearby communities. Farmers on the hillside complained to us that the pollution is harming their crops. The plant closed late last year for modernization, and its future at this point seems uncertain. It employed several hundred Jamaicans.
However, there are other long-standing mining operations on the island – over sixty years’ worth. Bauxite mining is a major source of emissions of sulphur oxide and poisonous nitrogen oxide in Jamaica. Of greatest concern now (and for some time) is the threat to the Cockpit Country in western Jamaica from bauxite mining. Our Minister of Mining is also enthusiastic about selling seven major packages to big investors for limestone quarrying. Limestone – the very stuff that our island is made of. If you look up at what is left of the mountainsides as you are driving into Kingston along the airport road, you cannot but conclude that mining – extraction – is the single most destructive activity for our environment. That land, that soil, those forests, those caves, those rivers, those springs, can never be replaced. They are gone. The landscape is simply…gone.
Now, Esther Figueroa has collaborated with Dr. Emiel Martens in an online film festival that highlights the impact of extraction industries across the world. Tune in at www.caribbeancreativity.nl
The festival includes Figueroa’s own film, launched last year in Kingston, Fly Me to the Moon. All not to be missed! See details and contact information for the filmmakers, below:
GLOBAL EXTRACTION FILM FESTIVAL: JULY 16-20, 2020, STREAMED FREE WORLDWIDE ONLINE. OVER 100 FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES AND URGENT SHORTS. HOSTED BY VAGABOND MEDIA & CARIBBEAN CREATIVITY
The First Global Extraction Film Festival, streaming online from July 16-20, 2020, is FREE to the public worldwide. Curated by Esther Figueroa, environmental filmmaker based in Jamaica, in collaboration with Caribbean Creativity based in the Netherlands, GEFF 2020 is part of a movement to bring attention to both long standing and newly evolving threats from global extraction.
FOCUS ON GLOBAL EXTRACTION * GEFF PROGRAM ONE features a selection of over 20 documentaries focused on all the regions of the world, with a wide range of topics demonstrating the all-encompassing and intersectional nature of global extraction and exploitation. From the military industrial complex and colonial occupation, to mining, tourism, industrial agriculture, factory farms, climate crisis, plastics, waste, forests, soil, forced labor, fossil fuels, smart-technology, and the rights of nature.
GEFF PROGRAM ONE includes the world premiere of Fly Me To The Moon, Esther Figueroa’s feature documentary about modernity and the global aluminum industry, as well as many award winning feature documentaries, such as Adam Horowitz’s Nuclear Savages, Deia Schlosberg’s The Story of Plastic, Stephanie Soechtig & Jason Lindsey’s Tapped, Franny Armstrong’s Drowned Out, Jordon Brown’s Stare Into The Lights My Pretties, and Anne Keala Kelly’s Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i.
URGENT SHORTS * GEFF PROGRAM TWO presents an educational overview of why we should #FocusOnGlobalExtraction and take #GlobalExtractionAction. A text written by Esther Figueroa is accompanied by links to almost 40 Urgent Shorts including testimonials from people impacted by extraction and exploitation, media produced by grass-roots and international activist organizations, news outlets and short documentaries. Accompanying the Urgent Shorts program is a bonus list by topic of links to 70 extraction related documentaries, testimonials, news programming and shorts, including extensive links to media about environmental justice. All media featured in the URGENT SHORTS * GEFF PROGRAM TWO are publicly available online and can be accessed at anytime, not just during GEFF 2020.
On 16 July, the United States of America will celebrate the 51st anniversary of NASA’s launch of Apollo 11, and on 20 July, the moon landing. On 30 June, 2020, SpaceX, a private company owned by Elon Musk, launched a US military Space Force satellite, one of dozens of military and commercial satellites launched by the company since 2013. SpaceX is also currently developing flights to the Moon and Mars. As the US, China, Japan and other countries, as well as privately owned companies, pursue a new era of mineral extractive space exploration, the First Global Extraction Film Festival is held to reflect on the destructive impacts of hundreds of years of extractive industries on Planet Earth.
ESTHER FIGUEROA, PH.D., Vagabond Media, LLC, firstname.lastname@example.org
EMIEL MARTENS, PH.D., Caribbean Creativity, email@example.com