Verzet Wereldwijd: A night of resistance and solidarity!

What does saying ‘no’ mean to you? If a mining corporation decided to use your home for their new extractivist project – would you be able to stop them? And as well as saying no to extraction and pollution, how able are you to say yes to another way of living, that works with the natural world and within planetary boundaries?

On the 2nd December, environmental frontline defenders from Ecuador, Brazil, Ireland and Belgium came together in De Studio in Antwerp for a night of activities around the ‘right to say no.’

Organised by CATAPA in collaboration with CIDSE, Grondrecht and Fridays For Future Antwerp, the event was designed to share stories and experiences of frontline defenders, and build solidarity in the worldwide movement against extractivism.

The diversity of the speakers and of the event – which was held simultaneously in English, Dutch and Spanish – reflected both the diversity of the experiences of those participating, and the unity of a movement that transcends languages and geography.

The night kicked off with a speech by Jakob Cleymans, one of the founders of Fridays for Future Antwerp and of democratic supermarket Coop Centraal. He spoke of the importance of better including youth in discussions around climate action on a political level and the concept of MAPA – most affected people and areas.

Following this, we heard from a panel of female frontline defenders. V’cenza Cirefice, Irish ecofeminist researcher, artist and activist, and part of CAIM (Communities Against the Injustice of Mining). She spoke about the importance of viewing anti-extractivism through a feminist lens.

“At the forefront of the anti-mining movement in Ireland are women. It is women that are experiencing first hand the impacts (of mining), such as water pollution.” 

Ivonne Ramos, an Ecuadorian environmental and human rights activist who coordinates the national campaign of Acción Ecológica on the ecological and social impact of mining and the #QuitoSinMinería campaign, echoed this. 

“By working with women in both the urban and rural areas of Ecuador, we have created a kind of sisterhood of resistance.” 

We also heard from Hedwig Rooman, member of the Belgian organisation Grondrecht, a collective of concerned citizens demanding justice on PFAS pollution in their environment and its effects on themselves, their children and grandchildren. 

“We all have a right to the protection of our environment and health, thanks to the universal declaration of human rights. This right is enshrined in the Belgian Constitution.” 

After the panel discussion, artistic organisation Atelier Rojo led a collective imagination session to foster creativity and solidarity. 

The night rounded off with some live music by Roger de Bortoli and Arno Foppe, and empanadas courtesy of Antwerp business Monte Maiz. 

This event is just one of many upcoming opportunities to get involved and learn more about the Right to Say No campaign. Find out more about this new campaign on our website.

Article by catapista Cass Hebron – pictures by catapista Estefanía Moreno Amador

A MATERIALS WAR: UKRAINE AND THE RACE FOR RESOURCES

Wars are both political and material. Hidden underneath Ukraine’s fertile land are vast amounts of resources that global powers desperately want. The risk of a resource grab sold to the public as “rebuilding Ukraine” is very real, write Robin Roels, Diego Marin and Nick Meynen.

Wars have been fought and lost for access to energy, be it in the form of resources such as fossil fuels, or control of strategic industries like metallurgy, or agricultural lands. For example, oil may not have been the reason for the Iraq war, but it sure was a reason, and a major one.

The hunger for Ukraine’s resources

To feed the motor of continuous economic expansion, countries need ever more resources. Ukraine is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. The Donbas and Mariupol regions alone contain in ‘commercially viable quantities’, a large majority of the most used minerals and metals in today’s economies.

A part of the 3 to 11.5 trillion dollars worth of resources in Ukraine is now under Russian boots. This includes elements such as tantalum and niobium that are used for green(er) technologies as well as aviation, transportation and construction. As the amounts of elements like tantalum and niobium are state secrets, it is hard to estimate how much of it is now in Russian hands, but these materials are found in Donetsk and south of Zaporizhzhia, which are occupied by Putin’s invading army.

In a complete turn-around from the 1980s manufacturing exodus to Southern countries, the US and the EU are now promoting on-shoring or friend-shoring: the strategy to get resources from their own territories and those of allies. Eight months before the start of the war, in July 2021, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič had launched a strategic partnership on raw materials with Ukraine, with the purpose of “achieving a closer integration of raw materials and batteries value chains”. Ukraine was supposed to become a car battery hub for the EU.

In recent years, Ukraine has been busily expanding investment in mining. UkraineInvest, the government investment promotion office, received more than 100 investment proposals from across Europe and North America of up to $10 billion to develop 24 major mineral locations.

For decades, the Global North has extracted materials from the Global South in an unfair manner, keeping the industry that adds most value in the North while leaving the South to deal with most social and environmental impacts. Today, with  Europe’s influence in the Global South increasingly challenged by China, it seemed strategic for the EU to turn eyes to its eastern and south-eastern backyard, with Serbia standing out as the most recent example.

A reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy based on the EU’s objectives is likely to point in this direction, and make the country become a prime site for extraction and exploitation. However, the reconstruction of Ukraine must happen in a just way that respects planetary and social boundaries, as made clear by Andriy Andrusevych from Society and Environment, an Ukrainian member of the EEB.

There is no such thing as ‘green mining’

Green, environmentally friendly mining is just a myth that conceals a wide range of local environmental and social impacts – even when it serves the production of an electric car’s battery. Yet the EU’s response to the rising demand for metals and minerals to feed the twin digital and energy transitions has been to advocate for more mining within EU member states, as well as a renewed pursuit of raw materials diplomacy that will benefit Europe, but comes at a cost for the countries of extraction.

As a consequence, not only Ukraine but also many countries within the EU risk falling victim to the priorities of the European economy’s growth-fueled machinery. On top of this, the need for metals for the green transition is co-opted to start many new mining projects for raw materials that we do not need in the first place, such as gold and iron. Suddenly, all mining projects are becoming “energy transition projects.”

The risk is real that the proposed solution actually creates a new problem, without solving the original one. So far, the green energy transition has been a green energy addition: fossil fuel energy consumption has been increasing, rather than decreasing. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the worldwide growth in electricity demand has been slowing down in 2022. However, as long as the trend in energy demand remains positive, it will be impossible to satisfy Europe’s demand sustainably.

The path to peace and independence

The alternative to increasing our dependence on raw materials from other countries, is to need less of them in the first place. At the same time, the correlation between more material demands and more conflicts is very strong. A lot of our tensions with Russia would be solved if we needed less gas from them, something the European Commission is now actively working on. The same applies to raw materials.

This is clearly shown by the EEB’s LOCOMOTION project, which is improving an existing model that demonstrated that a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy systems could drive a steep re-materialisation of the economy. In a ‘Green Growth’ scenario, even when moving 100% towards renewables and boosting recyclability, cumulated extraction demand would surpass the current levels of reserves for tellurium, indium, tin, silver and gallium by 2060. All of these are key for renewable energy systems.

LOCOMOTION research further shows that material availability may pose serious problems in the next decades, especially in the case of solar. Hence, it is imperative to reduce both material and energy demand as well as to focus on recycling and substitution of materials for less environmentally impactful ones. We will still need materials in the future, for building our renewable energy grid and batteries to store energy, but taking the aforementioned measures will reduce pressures for their extraction.

We are all going to lose the battle for existence if we do not rethink how we use energy and raw materials. Green growth is a myth that keeps countries at odds with each other in this race for resources to deplete. There is only one viable peace settlement for this underlying war: embracing the limits to the growth of our economies, energy, and material consumption by setting targets, applying truly circular strategies – sharing, reusing, repairing and recycling – combined with cutting resource consumption that does not contribute to our wellbeing.

Just as we have learned that we cannot keep burning fossil fuels, we now have to come to terms with the limits of how much we can dig up, in a fair and just way, within our planetary boundaries.

Continuing the race for resources without considering systemic and demand-side solutions is likely to cause ever more environmental harm, insecurity and conflict. The opposite would be resource justice: the fair and considered distribution of the Earth’s resources without depleting them.

Written by Catapistas Robin Roels and Diego Marin, and Nick Meynen (EEB). Article originally published in META (EEB). Photo taken by Alberto Vázquez Ruiz.

Gezocht: Communicatiemedewerker (70-75% VTE)

CATAPA vzw zoekt een
Communicatiemedewerker (m/v/x) 
70-75% VTE – onbepaalde duur

 

In het kort: 

  • Contract: 70-75% VTE
  • Deadline: 25 juli 2022
  • Indiensttreding: Zo snel mogelijk
  • Duur: Onbepaald
  • Meer informatie: www.catapa.be
  • Werkgever: CATAPA vzw, Kon. Maria Hendrikaplein 5, bus 401, 9000 Gent, België

CATAPA 

In haar streven naar een rechtvaardige samenleving waarbij mens en natuur in evenwicht samenleven, focust CATAPA op de negatieve impact van metaalmijnbouw op mens en milieu. CATAPA heeft een wereld voor ogen waarin de ontginning van metalen en mineralen niet langer nodig is.

Onze hoofdactiviteiten zijn: 

  • Campagne voeren over de impact van mijnbouw en duurzame productie van elektronica in Vlaanderen.
  • Ondersteuning van partners en lokale gemeenschappen in Latijns-Amerika die bedreigd worden door grootschalige mijnbouwprojecten.
  • Beweging creëren rond duurzame productie en consumptie van metalen.
  • Netwerking, onderzoek & stimuleren van alternatieven.

Gezien CATAPA een vrijwilligersbeweging is, zijn de ‘Catapistas’ (vrijwilligers en sympathisanten) betrokken bij alle aspecten van de werking; van strategisch tot operationeel. Om dit in de praktijk te brengen, werken we met een kantoorteam dat de vrijwilligers een professionele omkadering biedt.

 

Jouw rol binnen CATAPA

Als communicatiemedewerker (content manager) van CATAPA neem jij de externe communicatie voor CATAPA voor je rekening. Je geeft CATAPA een duidelijk gezicht, werkt het communicatieve luik van onze campagnes uit en weet het doelpubliek op een gerichte manier te bereiken. Je bent de drijvende kracht achter het bekend maken van onze verhalen en standpunten op onze sociale mediakanalen en digitale communicatie. Je zorgt ervoor dat ze worden opgepikt en mensen in beweging zetten. 

Als medewerker communicatie werk je in nauw contact met de twee collega’s die werkzaam zijn binnen onze socio-culturele werking en met alle andere medewerkers die werken op andere projecten. Je werkt zowel op strategisch als uitvoerend niveau.

 

Gewenst profiel

  • Je bent sterk in het vertalen van soms complexe inhouden in heldere en wervende boodschappen en verhalen voor het bredere publiek. Je past inhoud, toon en vormgeving aan aan de specifieke doelgroep
  • Sociale media kennen geen geheimen voor je: je kent de do’s en don’ts van Facebook, Instagram en Twitter en zet die strategisch in om onze campagnes en ons werk in de kijker te zetten. 
  • Je hebt inzicht in het voeren van campagnes. Het creatieve, communicatieve luik van campagnes uitdenken geeft je energie. 
  • Je bent flexibel en haalt deadlines. 
  • Je bent geïnteresseerd in de thema’s waarrond CATAPA werkt en zoekt opportuniteiten om gericht in te spelen op de actualiteit.
  • Je bent een teamspeler en kan een beperkt aantal mensen enthousiasmeren en aansturen (bijvoorbeeld freelancers en vrijwilligers)
  • Je hebt een goede kennis van het Nederlands en het Engels. Kennis van het Spaans is een meerwaarde. 
  • Pluspunt: Je hebt een netwerk met pers of kennis over het succesvol bereiken van pers.

 

Taakomschrijving

  • Je werkt aan een duidelijk en wervend verhaal voor onze organisatie. 
  • Je bouwt verder aan onze huisstijl.
  • Je beheert onze social media kanalen en voedt (in beperkte mate) mee de website en nieuwsbrief. Je ondersteunt of coördineert ook bij andere geschreven, visuele of audiovisuele communicatie.   
  • Je neemt het communicatieve luik van onze huidige ‘CTRL-ALT-DEL’- campagne en komende campagnes in de toekomst voor je rekening.
  • Je ondersteunt communicatief de activiteiten en reguliere werking van CATAPA.
  • Je werkt hiervoor nauw samen met collega’s en vrijwilligers. Je coördineert freelancers, collega’s en vrijwilligers voor alles met betrekking tot communicatie. 
  • Avond- en weekendwerk hoort bij de job.

 

Ons Aanbod

  • Een leerrijke job met ruimte voor eigen initiatief in een unieke, dynamische organisatie.
  • Een aangename werksfeer samen met zeven collega’s en vele vrijwilligers.
  • Een contract voor onbepaalde duur in geval van een positieve tussentijdse evaluatie.
  • Verloning volgens sectorbarema PC329.01, B1b.
  • Het werkvolume (70 of 75%) is onderling te bespreken. 
  • Werkplaats in Gent aan het Sint-Pietersstation.
  • Fietsvergoeding voor woon-werkverkeer of terugbetaling openbaar vervoer.
  • Combinatie werk-privé: flexibele werkuren & telewerk zijn mogelijk.

 

Selectieprocedure

Stuur je CV en motivatiebrief naar kim.claes[at]catapa.be met referentie “Sollicitatie communicatiemedewerker”, ten laatste op 25 juli om 17u.  Als je geselecteerd wordt, word je ingelicht op 28 juli. Je wordt dan uitgenodigd voor een korte schriftelijke proef die we je via mail opsturen op 29 juli die ten laatste teruggestuurd moet worden voor 30 juli om 17u.  Het selectiegesprek zal doorgaan in de eerste week van augustus. CATAPA maakt werk van diversiteit, inclusiviteit en gelijke kansen.


Meer informatie

Meer info over onze organisatie is te vinden op CATAPA.be. Neem zeker ook een kijkje op onze sociale media. Met vragen kan je terecht bij Kim Claes, kim.claes[at]catapa.be.

Speakers Tour Student Event Ku Leuven

Speaker’s Tour Student Event – Citizens Council: Extractivism and KULeuven

Speaker’s Tour Student Event – Citizens Council: Extractivism and KULeuven

We do not eat gold, we do not drink oil.

(Rosas Duran Carrera, KULeuven Student Event)

During this year’s Speaker’s Tour CATAPA organised several events in student campuses across Flanders. On Monday 7th March Rosas travelled to KULeuven to deliver a striking testimony about the impact of several mining projects on his community and their collective resistance. 

In the second half of the event, students were challenged to question the links between extractivism and their university. For example, KULeuven’s SIM2 Institute works on ‘environmentally friendly’ mineral and material extraction and recycling. The institute works with various extractive companies, such as Nyrstar and Umicore, with a history of environmental and human rights violations and ties to Belgian colonialism.

Speakers Tour Student Event Ku Leuven

The enthusiasm in the room was electric. Students brainstormed several strategies around how we could take collective action to force KULeuven to divest from mining and provide greater transparency. We then planned a further meeting to turn these ideas into a concrete  campaign.

This event was part of the Speaker’s Tour 2022.

Written by catapista Connor Cashell.

Sources:

KULeuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (2022) Industrial Sounding Board,
Available at: https://kuleuven.sim2.be/industrial-sounding-board/
[Accessed 22 March 2022]. 
 
KULeuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (2022) Mission and Vision.
Available at: https://kuleuven.sim2.be/mission-vision/
[Accessed 22 March 2022].
 
Sanderson, Henry (2019) ‘Congo, child labour and your electric car’, Financial Times, July 7 2019.
Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/c6909812-9ce4-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb
[Accessed 23 March 2022]. 
 
Shepherd, Tony (2021) ‘In the shadow of Port Pirie’s lead smelter,
parents fight a losing battle against contamination’, Guardian, 3 September 2021.
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/04/
[Accessed 23 March 2022].

‘Greenwashing’ of the mining industry

‘Greenwashing’ of the mining industry

A warm nest, your own car and the latest smartphone; many of us are used to a life of luxury. However, continuing to meet these needs requires an energy transition. The highly acclaimed European Green Deal opens the door to ‘green’ alternatives such as electric cars and solar panels. But are these alternatives really so green and our needs so indispensable?

According to the global solidarity network YLNM (Yes to Life, no to Mining) they are not. They recently issued a press release “On the frontlines of lithium extraction” in which they sound the alarm. They particularly denounce the drastic expansion of mining in the name of green energy. Mining equals the violation of human rights and the destruction of crucial ecosystems. Anything but green.

“The EU needs to wake up and set an objective to reduce material use by two-thirds so that the European Green Deal does not become yet another footnote in the history of the destruction of the planet,” says Meadhbh Bolger of Friends of the Earth Europe.

Europe

The EU should reduce the extraction of natural resources by 65%. This is what Friends of the Earth Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) published in a recent study titled “Green mining is a myth”. Europe is already using a disproportionate amount of available natural resources. In fact, the EU’s material footprint currently stands at 14.5 tonnes per capita, approximately double what is considered a sustainable and equitable limit, and far above the global average.

Despite these revealing figures, the European Green Deal only takes mining further. The use of individual electric cars is absolutely no solution. The demand for lithium in the EU through batteries, required for electric cars, is expected to increase almost 6000% by 2050.

They come and destroy everything. They say they bring work and food. But that is only for today. Tomorrow we will be hungry again.

Empty Promises

The mining industry is often controlled by multinationals that care little about the rights of local people. In the video from the YLNM press conference, an indigenous woman says, ‘They come and destroy everything. They say they bring work and food. But that is only today. Tomorrow we will be hungry again.”

Indigenous people often set the example of a sustainable lifestyle. Yet it is precisely these communities and environments that are being abandoned in the name of ‘green’ energy. In many cases, lithium projects are forced on local communities. There is no transparency or democratic decision making. The mining industry is intertwined with local politics and often receives support from local politicians and international development organisations to promote ‘green mining’. But ‘green mining’ does not exist.

Water is worth more than lithium

Besides violating human rights, mining also destroys ecosystems.  Lithium mining and processing cause permanent and irreversible damage to water systems. The mines not only affect the watercourse and the water quality. They also fragment the landscape, rendering more sustainable livelihoods such as agriculture and tourism almost impossible. The Atacama Desert in Chile is gradually losing its last water resources due to the effects of lithium mining. Chile has half of the world’s lithium reserves and almost all of its exports are currently extracted from the Atacama Desert, the driest place in the world.

Need for behavioural change 

These are horrific findings. However, there is an alternative. Many action groups propose a number of concrete alternatives to limit mining and further damage as much as possible.

A drastic change in our habits and consumption, but also on production level, is crucial. The demand for energy and materials has to decrease significantly. This can be achieved by maximising public transport, providing alternatives to private transport and paying more attention to the repair, reuse and recycling of batteries and other products.

In addition, it is important to fully inform communities about the consequences of mining. Local communities must have the right to say no if they do not agree with the project.

Climate change should be addressed from a holistic socio-environmental justice perspective. Mining is destructive, not only ecologically but also in human terms. These elements must be recognised and policies must address them in a meaningful way.

Finally, the impunity of companies must end. Binding treaties must improve business and human rights. If they are not complied with, sanctions must follow. In order to ensure this, sensible environmental and social protection regulations are needed.

We should be aware that these ‘green’ approaches of the European Green Deal are often presented as innovations, but in reality they represent destructive models that promote an unjust and unequal transition. We must not let it get that far!

Article written by Catapista Helena Spriet

Photos by Sebastian Pichler via Unsplash

Take part in the free escaperoom Re-Connect!

Take part in the free escaperoom Re-Connect!

Always wanted to do an escaperoom, but never got around to it? Fond of your smartphone, but don’t know what’s inside? Then participate in the free escaperoom Re-Connect. Impress your friends by outsmarting them, solve the fun puzzles and riddles and find the tips to free yourself first. In this way you can learn more about the impact of your smartphone on people and the environment in a playful way.

Escaperoom-ReConnect -Bos plus Catapa

There are 3 escaperooms available. In each room you play with min. 4 and max. 8 people. From October 16 to November 27, the escape game will be on the CINOCO site, rue Pierre Van Humbeek 5, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Brussels). Registration is mandatory! Reservations can be made via this link. The escaperoom is in Dutch, so you’ll need at least one person that understands Dutch. But for most of the exercises you just need to think logical and a good command of Dutch isn’t necessary. 

A group of Catapistas already participated and set a record time! Can you do better? 😉

Escaperoom-ReConnect -Bos plus Catapa

Why this project?  

The average smartphone lasts 2.5 years. Half of the youngsters feel addicted to their smartphone. Moreover, that smartphone is full of materials that require mining. Disturbing figures, because mining is one of the 4 biggest drivers of deforestation. Read why here.

The supply chain of our electronics also causes many other environmental and social problems. A smartphone contains about 62 minerals and metals. Several of these are mined in vulnerable areas, with serious consequences for people and the environment: pollution by chemicals and heavy metals, deforestation, loss of agricultural land and biodiversity, human rights abuses and criminalization. The ICT sector also causes almost 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

So would you like to learn more about the impact of our electronics on people and the environment? Through riddles, discover which minerals are in your smartphone, where they are mined and who bears the consequences?

Don’t hesitate, register as soon as possible and try to beat the record time! Good luck!

reconnect-escaperoom_broei-3

Under the direction of BOS+, CATAPA and De Transformisten joined forces for the creation of this escaperoom, as part of the Re-Connect project. For its development, they called on #ANTcollectief.

Ctr alt del logo

Ctrl Alt Del Campaign

Launch Ctrl Alt Del Campaign

Reset the system & stop planned obsolescence!

The earth is becoming exhausted.

Floods, forest fires, melting glaciers, …: we are increasingly confronted with natural disasters. The consequences are disastrous & undeniable: we are exceeding the limits of our planet. To keep our globe livable, we must wake up and take action. Action aimed at the system, because we urgently need to stop holding only citizens responsible: we need to address the system, the economic system that strives for eternal growth! A reset of that system, that’s what we need! Ctrl Alt Del!

Take, make, waste.

Our current linear model of consumption and production is one of the biggest causes of this climate crisis. In this “throwaway” model, the quality of those products is secondary to quantity, in order to drive consumption and sales, primarily of electronics, to the limitless.

More production = more mining

That infinite supply of products is not consistent with the finite nature of our planet; the earth is not a bottomless pit. We cannot keep extracting more and more metals from the ground. The demand for raw materials is already unsustainable, resulting in many catastrophes. Mining is not only associated with huge energy and water wastage, but also with the contamination of soil and water, through the use of chemicals. This causes biodiversity loss and thus the degradation of the earth’s ecosystem. On top of this, the mining sector is also responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions, making it one of the most polluting sectors on earth.

Planned obsolescence: what is it and why will it destroy our planet?

Producing goods at top speed and at the lowest possible prices is the basis of our current economic system. Products are made with a limited life span (planned obsolescence) or the design makes repair difficult or unfeasible. Some products are even deliberately made with system faults, deliberately designed to be defective, so that the life span is short and more products are sold. This is part of a deliberate industry strategy to discourage users and to make us buy new devices quickly. That is the definition of planned obsolescence.

Time to take action for more regulation!

The solution to this lies at the policy level. The planet urgently needs strong politicians who do not allow themselves to be lobbied by the industry, but dare to subject them to strict regulation. Regulation can ensure that multinationals are obliged to make better products (eco-design) for consumers: repairable products, made to last, instead of disposable products made to break down quickly and be replaced. Logical right?

Join the Ctrl Alt Del Campaign!

Expect numerous workshops, lectures, actions, … on Planned Obsolescence in the coming months. Follow our Ctrl Alt Delete campaign closely and join Catapa in action: let’s force our politicians to take responsibility, stop planned obsolescence and reset the current system! 

#ctrlaltdel #ExpresDefect

Catapa communication education volunteer

Become a Communication or Education Volunteer!

Become a Communication or Education Volunteer

Would you like to be part of a volunteer team supporting the Communication or Education of some amazing social & environmental justice projects across Belgium and Latin America?

Become a Communication Volunteer!

Are you interested in social media, content creation or graphic design, etc? We are now recruiting for volunteers who want to help shape the communication strategy and output of CATAPA by being a part of our Communication working group!

Send an email to communication[at]catapa.be introducing yourself.

Become an Education Volunteer!

Are you interested in setting up educational events and trainings, develop educational material, guide workshops, and much more, we are also recruiting for volunteers who want to help shape the educational strategy and output of CATAPA!

Send an email to education[at]catapa.be introducing yourself.

 

We are looking forward to welcoming you in our team!

10 Ways CATAPA Took on the Mining Industry in 2020

10 Ways CATAPA Took on the Mining Industry in 2020

 

Its been a challenging year across the world with the Covid-19 pandemic not least for communities facing down mining projects trying to exploit the situation we now find ourselves in.

Despite these new challenges here are 10 Ways CATAPA Took on the Mining Industry in 2020:

1. Uncovering the exploitation of Bolivian miners in European supply chains

In 2020 CATAPA produced a research article uncovering how the rare metal Indium exchanges hands without being paid for, as it travels through the supply chain, from Bolivian mines into the hands of European Industry. This followed up the first investigation on polymetal mining in Bolivia earlier in 2020 which assessed the impacts of mining in the region of Oruro. The research mapped the local and regional actors involved in the Bolivian supply chain, to better understand what “Making ICT Fair” could look like in a Bolivian context.

2. Supporting the #WhoIsKillingThem Campaign

Colombia is the most dangerous region worldwide for people defending the environment. This is why CATAPA, led by CATAPA Colombia activists launched the campaign called #WhoIsKillingThem to raise awareness about the impacts of mining and the increasing number of environmental and social activists being assassinated in Colombia.

3. Empowering Water Guardians in Peru

The ‘Guardianxs del Agua’ project involved providing water monitoring training to 5 local ‘water committees’, whose fresh water sources are in danger from current and potential mining projects in Cajarmarca, Peru.  The series of workshops and trainings provided the “Guardians of Water” with the capabilities to better identify any signs of contamination and document the quality and quantity of local water supplies.

A social media campaign called “Guardianxs del Agua”, drew attention to the work of the water monitoring committees and the importance of protecting these last sources of clean water. The campaign also raised national attention around a new law proposal, which would protect environmental committees. The project and campaign ended with the publication of a short documentary Guardianxs del Agua.

4. Hosting an International Webinar Series on sustainable and responsible electronic supply chains

In 2017, eleven European partners joined forces to create the project “Make ICT Fair – Reforming manufacture and minerals supply chains through policy, finance and public procurement”. Organized by CATAPA, the Make ICT Fair international webinar series drew hundreds of participants from multiple continents with the aim to improve the lives of workers and local communities impacted along the ICT supply chain through research, capacity building and campaigning. 

5. Adapting mining activism during a Pandemic

CATAPA’s largest annual event, the Open Min(e)d Speakers Tour, included guest speakers from Hong Kong, Ecuador and Colombia before being moved online by the start of the pandemic. 2020’s changemaker trajectory saw 30 changemakers complete our tailed programme on Extractivism, Degrowth and Buen Vivir with various trainings, including on how to run impactful social media campaigns.

Partnering with universities Catapistas gave lectures to students on issues such as resource conflicts and human rights violations in Latin America. Every year CATAPA supervises several students writing their thesis about mining related issues & ICT procurement and ‘Thesis 4 Bolivia” provided a space for graduates and researchers to share their experiences of conducting research abroad. 

2020 also brought new opportunities as CATAPA delved into the world of Deep Sea Mining with a webinar and the formation of an action group. Once the first wave subsided, covid safe Summer’s End Sessions were created, allowing the Catapistas to further build and develop the movements strategy for 2021.

CATAPA put on Doculatino and Cinema Peru, an online series of film screenings which highlighted the stories of the featured communities impacted by extractive industries. Bar Circular saw hundreds tune into a series of ICT workshops taking place online, covering topics on digital health, repair and how to extend the lifespan of your digital devices.  

 

6. Challenging the European Commission’s Green Mining Agenda

CATAPA joined over 230 civil society organisations, community platforms and academics in releasing an open letter to call on the European Commission to urgently reassess its plans to drive a new resource grab both in the EU and the global South.

Instead of expanding and repatriating mining destruction which will threaten communities, biodiversity & the planetary life support systems – we called for:

1. Absolute reduction of resource use and demand in Europe

2. Recognition and respect for communities’ Right to Say No to mining

3. Enforcement of existing EU environmental law and respect for conservation areas

4. An end to exploitation of Global South nations, and respect for human rights

5. Protection of ‘ new frontiers’ – like the deep sea- from mining.

7. Raising the profile of ‘El Tingo’

The community of El Tingo is one of the most affected by mining in Cajamarca (Peru), as the community is located between two mining projects. Despite mining companies Gold Fields and Coimolache signing social agreements with the community, the mining projects brought the community water contamination, loss of agriculture and livestock, property destruction, heavy metals in the blood of the community members and empty promises of work in the mines.

In 2020 the community of El Tingo decided to speak out. This project resulted in the powerful documentary ‘El Tingo: una comunidad bajo dos proyectos mineros’ and has been viewed over 22,000 times to date.

8. Securing recognized Socio-Cultural Status

We secured social-cultural organizational status, allowing us to increase the number of paid staff we have and finance more exciting projects and initiatives from 2021 onwards. This was really important to secure structural funding especially in the current economic context – allowing us to carry on fighting for a socially and ecologically just planet.

9. Piloting worker led monitoring of the mining industry

CATAPA entered into a new partnership in 2020, which will see the extension of worker-driven monitoring of mining operations across three continents. CATAPA supported the delivery of monitoring trainings with Electronics Watch and CISEP to start building the local foundations needed to begin the monitoring of Bolivian Tin mines. The end goal of worker driven monitoring of these mines, will be an important step-change in the transparency of these global supply chains.

10. Encouraging Public and Private bodies to clean up their ICT

The links between mining and ICT products are clear. The average smartphone contains 60 different elements, many of which are metals. Without the extraction of metals many of the technologies used in offices across Belgium would not exist. This year the Fair ICT Flanders project set up a learning network with 30 large buyers of ICT hardware and actively supported  6 pilot organisations in Flanders to make their purchasing policies more sustainable. The first Fair ICT Award was given to the KU Leuven. They were recognized for their commitment to ‘ Human Rights Due Diligence’ and life extension of their ICT devices. In this way, they hold the ICT industry accountable and contribute to less (over)consumption and mining.’

If you want to get involved in CATAPA’s activism and find out more about what we have in store for 2021, you can contact us to sign up for email updates here – and if you can afford it, please donate to support our efforts to stop mining here.

Jaarverslag 2019

Jaarverslag 2019

Benieuwd naar wat we vorig jaar allemaal uitgespookt hebben? Hier kan je CATAPA’s jaarverslag van 2019 downloaden, met onder andere een overzicht van onze activiteiten en projecten in Vlaanderen en Latijns-Amerika en onze vernieuwde missie- en visietekst!