Mining, Society, and a Sustainable World
“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.” Leo Tolstoy - Writings on Civil Disobe- ence and Non-Violence (1886). In today’s world where sustainable development has become a critical security concept for the well-being of the environment and society, the man Tolstoy depicts might well be interchangeable for either the planet in terms of its carrying-capacity or its bene?ciary, society. While it is arguable that mining is neither inherently sustainable nor unsusta- able (O’Faircheallaigh, this volume), exploration, production, and consumption of non-renewable resources over time makes the industry ultimately unsustainable if it results in negative socio-economic impact (Waye et al., this volume). This inva- ably leads to de?nitions of sustainability in terms of the ?nancial bene?ts that can accrue from transforming natural capital into human capital, theoretically creating intergenerational bene?ts (ibid.). Such a de?nition of sustainability is inherently utilitarian, assuming the English political philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s sugg- tion that human nature avoids pain for the pursuit of pleasure, and that legislators should therefore base decisions on the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (Bentham 1996).
Presents the first comprehensive analysis of the problems and sustainable solutions of minerals exploitation