The environmental degradation of our planet is one of the biggest dangers to humanity and well-being of our entire ecosystem. Environmental damage at the hands of corporations affects every corner of the globe, on land, sea and air. No one and nowhere is immune to these negative effects. The more you are aware of causes and effects, the more you can make informed decisions and make changes in your own habits. This in turn creates global changes by affecting corporate policies and practices. The case in point is Teghout Forest. During my first visit to Armenia in 2011 I visited Lori region, I saw its natural beauty and towering forest that was still standing. In the last two years a lot has changed. As it turns out Teghout forest, one of the last and best-preserved forests in Armenia, is endangered being almost completely chopped down. The reason is the creation of open poly-metal mining site, which will accompany a tailing dump that will unleash an estimated 500 million tons of highly toxic waste and 600 tons of additional waste into the region. The impact – Teghout forest with its truly unique ecosystem of lush trees, rivers and rare plants and animals is in a very vulnerable position of being ruined and devastated forever. The glorious national wonder is endangered becoming an ecological dead zone which will have ramifications for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The excuse – the developers of the mine and those in the country that approve of its creation cite economic growth for the country and prosperity for the local work force.
The reality – With around 500 and growing mining pits currently in Armenia the country has yet to see significant gains from the output from these mines and the work force in these mines have not reached the significant and lasting positive impact of their living standards. Regarding Teghout Forest, most work force will come from the 360 people, who live in the region. These individuals inadvertently would be riskisng the lives and health of not only themselves, but also their children’s, and children’s children, for generations to come and all for a projected monthly income of US 0. Projections have the long-term life of the mine to last between 25 to 30 years. The beauty of Teghout forest will be lost for millennia or more.
The alternative – Finding an alternative source of income stimulus for Teghout region is critical to derail the plans to create an open-pit mine and to continue the open-pit mine, I should say. The Teghout area is highly productive agriculturally: farming is obviously more sustainable for both the industry, the ecology of the region and the country. What is necessary for businessmen who are truly interested in long-term success of Armenia is to research the geology of Teghout area with the respect of agriculture instead of precious metals and invest in developing agricultural collectives and small businesses in the region. After all, what is more precious than the environmental and the well-being of our future generations.
The plan – educate yourself about the crisis in Teghout, join the “Save Teghout” environmental movement to learn more about the cause, consequences and alternatives to share your ideas about how to save your forests, visit www.Teghut.am, www.ecolur.org and get involved.
I am Serj Tankian. Thank you.
16:56 August 09, 2012