Lani Prunés 04-07-2015

An interactive map showing Canadian mining locations. 

Danny Duncan Collum 04-01-2015

Singer-songwriter Angaleena Presley paints a heartbreaking picture of what Appalachia has become. 

Emilie Teresa Smith 04-01-2015

Fifty years of bloody conflict, economic greed, and environmental devastation. 

Bill McKibben 02-05-2015

Churches are profiting from desecration like this—and every time they look into the account books they should tremble. 

Liz Schmitt 05-30-2014
Przemek Tokar/

Przemek Tokar/

Two weeks ago in Soma, Turkey, a coal mine explosion left 301 people dead. It was the country’s worst mining disaster, but it wasn’t the first — and it wasn’t the last, as multiple fatal accidents have happened in the two weeks since. The last time a mining disaster caught the world’s attention, we watched and waited and prayed during the rescue operation for the miners in Chile.

In Turkey, people protested in the streets of Soma — protested against Soma Mining for letting this happen, against their government for loopholes in safety rules. In response, the police issued a ban on protests and locked the city down. The ruling political party proudly announces that it has inspected that mine 11 times in the past 5 years; Soma Mining denies negligence. And the families of 301 persons mourn their losses.

This isn’t a faraway problem. In the United States, we don’t do as much traditional mining as we used to — instead, we do mountaintop removal. This has a human cost, too, in more insidious ways. The people living in Appalachia have higher rates of respiratory illness, cancer, kidney diseases, skin ailments, and more. And the landscape, which has the fingerprints of God in it, is being blown apart.

Psalm 95:4-5 says:

“In [God’s] hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are [God’s] also. The sea is [God’s], for [God] made it, and the dry land, which [God’s] hands have formed.”

Jacek Orzechowski 03-12-2014
Photo: Jacek Orzechowski

a Franciscan young adult group at St. Camillus created a large mural about Easter. Photo: Jacek Orzechowski

Last fall, on a Sunday afternoon, as I walked out of the church, a young man tugged on my Franciscan habit. It was Miguel, a member of our Latino choir.

“Father,” he said, “please, pray for the people of my home parish back in El Salvador, especially for one of the priests who has received death threats.”

Startled, I asked: “What is happening there?"

“These priests are organizing against the multinational companies,” he said. “The companies are looking for gold. What will be left for our people? Only poisoned water, a wasteland, and death.”

A few weeks later, I had another similar conversation with a group from Guatemala. Theirs was a similar tale of how indigenous communities were being threatened by mining projects.

As a Catholic and a member of the Franciscan Order, I believe that we are called to “read the signs of the times” and to listen to the cry of the poor and the “groaning” of God’s Creation.

Allen Johnson 03-06-2014

New studies reveal the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the people nearby.

Emilie Teresa Smith 01-31-2014

Today, Canadian companies account for 75 percent of mining worldwide, and their practices are rife with abuse.

Emilie Teresa Smith 01-31-2014

Gold and silver mines in Guatemala are wreaking havoc on local communities. But the people, using nonviolent Christian action, are fighting back.

Elizabeth Palmberg 01-19-2012
Francia -- Photo curtsey of Elizabeth Palmberg

Francia -- Photo curtsey of Elizabeth Palmberg

Most real-life law students I've met are at way, way less risk of being murdered than their counterparts in a John Grisham novel--except for Francia Marquez. The Afro-Colombian activist and mother of two has received multiple death threats as she advocates to keep her home community from having their ancestral home stolen by a land-grab big mining project.

There's gold in them thar hills in Francia's home, La Toma, in Colombia's Cauca province. Families in her hometown have lived for generations off of small-scale, by-hand gold mining. (Francia herself still puts in some mine time when she visits home, although these days she's spending the most time in her legal studies in Bogota.)

But lots of larger-scale mining concerns want in on the action. Some have sent in bulldozers illegally. Others are joining the land rush of getting mining concessions from the national government--notwithstanding laws on the books that give local communities various rights, including prior consultation on any mining projects.

Denali DeGraf 01-01-2012

Indigenous communities -- and local church leaders -- stand against open-pit mining that threatens to despoil Patagonia.

Danny Duncan Collum 05-01-2009
The future of Appalachia -- and the planet -- depends on unseating King Coal.

Beginning with churches near the coalfields, more than 750 local and national religious leaders have put forth “A Call for Justice at Peabody Energy” that backs miners seeking to organi

Dee Dee Risher 04-01-2006

When the Sago mine explosion trapped 13 West Virginia miners 250 feet below ground in January, I was deep into Kettle Bottom, a stunning collection of poetry by Diane Gilliam Fisher that i

Elizabeth Newberry 05-01-2000

Citizens call a new tune.