A Better Path For Brazil’s Mining Industry

By Edward on August 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Maybe you missed it in the recent overabundance of bad news, but last week, Brazil opened up a swath of the Amazon rainforest the size of Denmark to mining interests. Today the court just suspended this decree among an outcry from activists and Brazilian celebrities like Gisele.

 

“The Amazon forest helps maintain the balance so life can continue on our planet.” From Gisele’s Post on Instagram.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world.

 

“The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it was suspending “‘possible administrative acts based on the decree” signed by President Michel Temer.”

 

Though things are looking up, we have to stay alert. To understand the potential environmental toll this presents, just do a quick search for “gold mining impact” or read this recent article on the perils of the Latin American gold rush.

 

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water, normally used for cooking. Central Kalimantan, Borneo. June 8th 2013. The World Development Movement is campaigning for banks and other parts of the financial sector to be forced to disclose the carbon footprint of their investments.

Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine (above) are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water.

 

From The Guardian article:

“Illegally mined gold has overtaken cocaine to become Peru and Colombia’s most lucrative illicit export, according to a new report that warns the shift from drug cultivation to criminal mining in many Latin American countries is fuelling “staggering” human rights abuses and wrecking the environment.”

Though promises from the officials involved in the decision, to protect conservation and indigenous land areas, mean very little, a little knowledge of the issues and strong activism can offer hope for the future.  While undoubtedly bad news overall, the hard work of artisanal miners and others in the sector over the last 10-15 years has meant that there is a new precedent for mining that does not damage the environment and respects local communities.

 

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment .

No matter what, mining has a tremendous impact on the environment.

The activities of groups in neighboring Colombia have set the tone for what those inside the industry hope will become a characteristic of some of the extraction due to take place in Brazil.  As recently as June, Revista Semana, one of Columbia’s most read publications looked at the groundbreaking, advances taking place within its mining sector:

 

“A group of artisanal miners demonstrated that artisanal mining and environmental destruction are not two sides of the same coin. They seek to protect the biodiversity of their territory and prove that artisanal mining can be done responsibly. Through these practices, they have secured sales of their ecologically-mined gold to ethical jewelers at the international level.”

 

 

While there will undoubtedly be abuses, corruptions, and confrontations it’s down to consumers and businesses, to demand greater transparency and the implementation of hard fought for reforms and best practices for ethical mining.

Every Day is Earth Day

By admin on April 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Behind the scenes images of plants and jewelers in the workshop studio. Earth Day

The annual Earth Day buzz is back, kickstarting Spring and a season of environmental support. Here at Bario Neal, we try to maintain the earth-loving fervor year-round by reading, watching and listening to stay informed, caring for our own green life in our home and work spaces, and visiting our favorite outdoor spots for a breath of fresh air and celebration dance. We took some time out to compile a few of our Philadelphia favorites to share with you.

READ:

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014.

Anna | It’s one of the best environmental crisis books I’ve read in years. I listened to it as an audiobook three times.

Green Philly, an environmentally-minded blog promoting a sustainable Philadelphia through local connections and posts on news, events, lifestyle, food + recipes, recycling, health + beauty, biking, and more.

Hidden City Philadelphia, an online publication and organization committed to revealing, celebrating, and improving our city’s most remarkable places.

Constance | Great for some urban exploring.

EAT: 

Greensgrow and Philly Foodworks, two of many incredible young Philadelphia organizations fueling the urban agriculture movement and supplying our city with urban farms, jobs, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), farmstands, community kitchens, and nurseries.

Hannah | It’s a win-win. Support Philly farms and food access by getting fresh produce delivered to your neighborhood in a box with your name on it.

LISTEN:

+ NPR’s Science Friday podcast, from Public Radio International. Educational and entertaining stories on science and technology.

Constance | Anyday.

WATCH:

Build a School in the Cloud, a 2013 TED Talk in which Sugata Mitra shares his vision for Self Organized Learning Environments and a learning lab in India.

Page | It’s about how we can change our ideas of education to adapt to our current reality & prepare the next generation of problem solvers.

GO:

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a beautiful stretch of green situated up above Kelly Drive and is considered a historical and horticultural resource of Philadelphia. Victorian picnic destinations with clifftop views up and down the Schuylkill… what could be better?

Forbidden Drive, or the Wissahickon Valley Trail, follows Wissahickon Creek through the length of the park and makes for a beautiful ride or hike through the trees.

Sara | Forever and beyond, all the way to the horse stables.

Washington Avenue Pier, FKA Pier 53, on the Delaware River. The ribbon was cut last August for the waterfront greenspace. Check it out for public art, panoramic views, and “places to touch the water.”

Sara | You’re in the Walmart parking lot and then what? It’s like a history show. First there was nature, then there was industry & immigrants, then not much, then campers and drinkers, then a path and replanting. You can still see all of it.

Belmont Plateau, an expansive grassy knoll in West Fairmount Park that offers a skyline view you feel like you should pay for.

Ridgway Pool at 13th and Carpenter is great for a dip on a hot day, as is any of the city’s other 70 outdoor public swimming pools open throughout the summer. There aren’t great resources for information on the pools but, like this article suggests, your best bet is to just show up.

Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail Park is one of the best and only access points to the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philly. The space has open space for casual activities, trails for biking and running, a skatepark, and fishing locations.

Sara | The bridges remind you you’re in a city, the river and trees remind you of what was there first. Go at dusk. And go for the summer movies.

+ Get healthy, beautiful, organic plants from local garden centers Urban Jungle on East Passyunk and City Planter in Northern Liberties.

+ For a good run, start at Penn Treaty Park, head down the waterfront, and finish at the tip of Race Street Pier with a stretch. Even without the running, Penn Treaty is great for a picnic or a game of kickball. Check out the free yoga classes offered through the summer on Race Street Pier. Another favorite running/biking/walking route is any portion of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Constance | Especially excited to try the new University City connection (on the Schuylkill River Trail).

+ The expanse of Fairmount Park offers so much, it can be easy to forget some of the more hidden spots.  Surrounded by this green landscape, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a mansion-sized dream-come-true for kids with free admission.  East Park Reservoir and it’s surrounding 13 acres, a thriving habitat for bird species, was reopened to the public this past December after 45 years and is the projected site for a 2017 opening of Philadelphia’s Discovery Center.

Bartram’s Garden, America’s oldest living botanical garden is in Philadelphia. A 45-acre National Historic Landmark.

Hannah | Their spring plant sale always takes my breath away because I get to bring so much green beauty back home with me. (Coming up: Saturday, April 30th)

Batsto River in New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest for heavenly canoeing and kayaking. Part of the region’s Pine Barrens, the state forest is wonderful for hiking and camping too.

Page | I love the Pine Barrens. Such a magical & beautiful area between Philadelphia & the ocean.

Sedgley Woods, a historic disc golf course in East Fairmount Park. Public and free!

Emily | The trail goes all the way back into a bird sanctuary where you can often see a pair of hawks that call that place home roaming the skies. Its the perfect combo of outdoors, hiking, disc throwing fun, and meeting other Philadelphians in the park.

Studio_Shop_Jewelers_Plants-23_Web

We keep plants close for days we can’t go to the plants.

These are some of our favorite ways to enjoy our environment in Philadelphia and celebrate the foundation of Earth Day all year long.  We wake up with the earth every day and we know now more than ever how significant our hand is in helping or hurting it.  The Earth Day zeal of each Spring can turn into a year-round effort of motivating each other to take care of the planet.  Building a meaningful impact requires time, turning actions into habits that will resonate with everyone.

The foundation of our work at Bario Neal is seated in such environmental responsibility. Our conscious decision to create jewelry through a process free of harmful impacts to human or environment extends beyond the products themselves and on to the cause of improving the methods of the industry. Bario Neal works with ethically sourced stones, 100% reclaimed metals, and Fairmined gold whenever possible. Recent metals and gemstone mining industry initiatives, dedicated to improving transparency and accountability, have addressed the need to develop sustainable mining practices, conflict-free gemstones, and push for labor initiatives to improve quality of life for both miners and workers in the cutting and polishing industries. Because these initiatives are still new to our industry, we remain committed to further research on sourcing with the utmost accountability.

Happy Earth Day from Bario Neal.

 

How to Get Involved this Earth Day

By admin on April 18, 2016 at 11:14 am

outdoor_work02

 

Earth Day 2016 is fast approaching and if you are like us, you might be looking for ways to spend the occasion helping the environment. If so, all week in Philadelphia Earth Day volunteer opportunities abound. Consider one of the following:

Tuesday, April 19th:  Delaware River Clean-Up at Pier 68 at Pier 70 Blvd, hosted by United By Blue

A Philadelphia outdoor lifestyle brand, United By Blue gets us hype with pride for our city. Their flagship store in Old City and two other locations feature their environmentally conscious apparel and accessories and serve their edition of locally roasted Reanimator Coffee. For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways- what a deal. They host clean-ups year-round and not just in Philadelphia- in states around the country.

Friday, April 22nd:  Hunting Park Clean-Up hosted by the Philadelphia Science Festival

The annual nine-day Philadelphia Science Festival is back with a ton of awesome events and activities for all-ages. Check out their site for more info on special exhibitions, lectures, and this clean-up in Hunting Park on Friday.

Saturday, April 23rd:  Darby Creek Clean-Up hosted by the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Tucked down by the Philadelphia airport, the Tinicum Marsh is a natural landscape of freshwater tidal marsh, mudflats and woodlands that support hundreds of animal and plant species.  The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge settled beside the marsh in 1972 to preserve and develop this natural area within its urban setting of oil refineries, industrial sites and city life.  The refuge operates sustainably in its management of the wildlife habitat and focuses on providing environmental education on location in their classroom facilities and in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.  They consistently involve the community in their cause, through events such as the Darby Creek Clean-Up on Saturday.

Saturday, April 23rd:  Naturepalooza! Family Earth Day Festival hosted by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Hosted by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, this Family Earth Day Festival will be an all-day outdoor event with fort-building, an animal show, two hikes and a pond exploration.  In partnership with the Philadelphia Science Festival, it’s bound to be fun and full of information.

Also, check out this great list of Philadelphia-area Earth Day events for the whole family at Metro Kids

 

Consider volunteering at Penn treaty park this Philadelphia Earth Day

Philadelphia’s Delaware River could use your help this Earth Day. 

More than just upcoming Earth Day events, this list features some of our city’s amazing environmental organizations to keep the charge going year round.  These orgs employ and engage hardworking people committed to improving the environment and helping others get involved here in Philly. They hold events and classes to educate us, remediate our water and land, improve animal habitats around us and are always looking for more hands on deck.

If you can’t help out this week, there will always be more opportunities. You can easily work a clean up into your daily routine, taking an afternoon off to volunteer along the Schuylkill with United By Blue. Or just get outside any weekend, spending a Sunday on a bird walk or taking a hike in Fairmount Park. If you just can’t find the time, consider making a monetary donation to support existing efforts. Whatever you choose, celebrate Earth Day by supporting those working hard to clean our environment right here in Philly.

This is Part 1 of our Earth Day 2016 series. Stay tuned for Part 2 this Friday.

 

Worthy Causes: Pure Earth and Planned Parenthood

By Constance on April 11, 2016 at 11:01 am

erzberg_mine02

The Pure Gold Auction + Benefit Bash

 

Happy Monday! This week we switch out the winter wardrobe for spring party attire to celebrate two of the most worthy causes we can imagine:  The Pure Gold Auction + Benefit Bash and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA’s annual spring fundraiser. 

First, we teamed up with Pure Earth’s Pure Gold Auction and Benefit Bash to prevent mercury poisoning caused by gold mining. You can bid from wherever you are on our “nuggets of pure gold,” the Bog Earrings in 14kt Fairmined, until the actual benefit on Tuesday, April 12.

“Mercury and gold mining are inextricably linked. A quarter of the world’s supply of gold comes from artisanal gold mining, which leads to the release of approximately 1000 tons of toxic mercury a year. Of the 20 million artisanal gold miners, an estimated 2.5 million are women and over 600,000 are children.” – www.pureearth.org 

To learn more about the dangers of mercury exposure through artisanal mining and our efforts to avoid it by using Recycled and Fairmined gold, read Pure Earth’s recent interview with Anna Bario and our existing blog post. 

Visit the  Auction + Benefit Bash page to see event details, bid, donate and watch a video detailing the hazards of mercury globally and mercury’s relation to gold mining.

 

12697215_10153304685591332_269194254566168329_o

Swing into Spring at the Young Advocates of Philadelphia

 

This weekend brings a chance to dust off the dancing shoes right here in Philadelphia at the Young Advocates of Philadelphia’s Annual Fundraiser in support of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania. Women’s reproductive health is very personal cause for the staff at Bario Neal and we are so proud to be a sponsor for what is sure to be the event of the spring.

Please consider supporting Planned Parenthood at a local or national level, and if you are in Philly, maybe we’ll see you at the William Way Center on Saturday night?

See event details for the Planned Parenthood benefit here or on Facebook.

Ideas Form Actions at Jewelry Industry Summit

By Constance on March 18, 2016 at 10:21 am
Bario Neal team members pose with Anna at the Jewelry Industry Summit.
 Actions and the agents of change, BN team members at the recent Jewelry Industry Summit.
At last weekend’s Jewelry Industry Summit, stakeholders from across our industry came together to create a shared vision of responsible sourcing across our industry. The summit coalesced knowledge from our industry and others, as well as NGO and government organizations so that we can learn from an build on others’ experience.
Attendees separate their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions.
 Participants discuss and identify key issues. Photo courtesy of the Jewelry Industry Summit.
One of the summit’s greatest accomplishment was to support traceability, transparency and sourcing initiatives in order to produce materials in a manner that both protects and sustains the environment; and benefits the individuals and communities where our jewelry is mined, manufactured, traded, and sold.
Attendees separate their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions.
Groups separated their thoughts into strengths, opportunities, and actions. 
Several groups at the Summit committed to advancing specific issues within the supply chain, including helping gem cutters in developing countries who need education and equipment to avoid silicosis, a disease that occurs from inhaling stone dust. Another specific initiative created an artisanal colored gem mining site project in Brazil that adheres to responsible social, ethical, and environmental practices.

 Anna Bario presents at the Jewelry Industry Summit.Anna Bario, key summit presenter and organizer, spoke of the urgent need for progress.

 

Overall, the summit was a spark– a much-needed first step toward greater transparency in our industry and greater benefit to the entire supply chain.  Anna reminded the attendees of the importance of a long-term investment in sustainable advances in her talk:

 “Time is the biggest investment. Not just to do it, but to tell the story.”

Former Tiffany’s CEO Thinks Gold Isn’t Worth Cost to The Environment

By Constance on November 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Photo by Carl Johnson
Photo by Carl Johnson from www.SaveBristolBay.org

When Gold Isn’t Worth The Price, a recent New York Times OpEd, written by the former CEO of Tiffany starts in the pristine wilderness of Bristol Bay for a good reason. An off-contested swatch of Alaskan wilderness, prized by fisherman and sought after by mining and oil-companies alike, Bristol Bay is again a hot topic as House Republicans, backed by special interests, criticize the EPA’s decision to uphold an order of protection. Simply put, he states that as it stands, gold isn’t worth the impact it has on the environment. The second half of Kowalski’s piece gives a great summary of the overall strategy of what needs to be done in the industry, which coincides with the goals of the upcoming Jewelry Industry Summit. Read more about our involvement in the summit committee and stay tuned to detailed articles once it is underway about how we can make gold mining reduce it’s negative environmental impact.

“No amount of corporate profit or share price value could justify our participation, however indirectly, in the degradation of such indescribable beauty (…) The threat to Bristol Bay exemplifies a far larger issue: the enormous human and environmental cost of irresponsible mining.” –MICHAEL J. KOWALSKI

Learn more about how to protect the Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.

Dirty Gold: Ojo Publica Exposes London Bullion’s Dark Secret

By Constance on August 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

gold bullion ojo publico

Image Courtesy of Ojo Publico 

The London Bullion Market is the union that sets the price of gold and concentrates

the biggest metal traders in the world.”

Ojo Publico, the well-respected online investigative journal based in Lima, Peru, recently reported on the companies financing the multi-million dollar trade of illegal South American gold in the article, Dirty Gold: Chasing the Trail Of the London Bullion Market.

These traders hail from the US, Switzerland, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates, and the kicker– some are ALSO members of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), which is the only real third party auditing system for large companies in the jewelry industry. RJC, you had one job.

Ojo Publico’s investigation traces the routes of illicit gold trafficking in South America. It also takes a deeper look into how the companies from Switzerland, the US, Italy, and the UAE are responsible for the pollution and destruction of riverbeds in Bolivia that also affect rivers in the Brazilian rainforest, rivers and forests in Colombia, the Namija mountains of the border of Peru, as well as other vast areas of Peru. The damning report documents the amount of illegal gold being exported, where it’s coming from, and where it goes. OP investigators traveled to illegal mining camps in Hueptuhe and La Pampa, the largest illegal mining camps and area of deforestation in Peru. A boat trip up the Madre de Dios, Beni and Madeira rivers, discovered that Bolivian and Brazilian gold dredged there was exported illegally, mostly to the US. They found their way to mines in the mountains of the Cordillera del Condor, near the Peru-Ecuador border, where the gold is smuggled to the US. Peru, listed as the world’s fifth largest supplier of gold, exports such a large percentage illegally, that it’s likely it should actually be listed as the second largest supplier, after China. They were able to get in touch with some higher-ups in the importing companies from the US, Switzerland, and UAE, but most requests resulted only in promises to provide more information.

That this corruption is public knowledge with no consequence to their membership with the RJC is particularly disturbing. From the RJC website:

“RJC Members commit to and are independently audited against the RJC Code of Practices – an international standard on responsible business practices for diamonds, gold and platinum group metals. The Code of Practices addresses human rights, labour rights, environmental impact, mining practices, product disclosure and many more important topics in the jewelry supply chain.”

 

There are many questions still to be answered, but this report reveals an impressive amount of corruption still present in a highly destructive gold market.

 

Ojo Publico, reports on transnational organized crime, governmental corruption, threats to public interest, environmental issues, and human rights issues. You can read their in-depth report here.  If you want to join the cause, fill out this petition telling the RJC to clean up its act.

 

Ethical Metalsmiths co-founder steps down

By Constance on July 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm
 
ethical metalsmiths

We want to thank Christina Miller – Ethical Metalsmiths Co-founder and Executive Director – for helping to build the responsible jewelry movement. Her work has helped both to educate our industry about our environmental and social impacts, and to support powerful initiatives like Fairmined gold.

“In 2004, when I co-founded Ethical Metalsmiths with Susan Kingsley, traceable and transparent sourcing and responsible studio practices were threatening topics.  Now, a jeweler is expected to know where his/her materials are coming from and to choose sources that purposefully empower people and protect the environment. I believe that the organization, with its dedicated board of directors, and engaged members is ready to advance the ethical jewelry movement in new directions. Moving into the future I am looking forward to applying what I have learned about mining, jewelry, education and collaborative change in new and creative ways.” – Christina Miller
Miller recently stepped down from her role, but will remain active with as chair of the Advisory Council and as a member of the Ethical Sourcing and Education committees.
Best Wishes Christina! We are excited to work with you on new projects in the coming months.

Jewelry Industry Summit

By Alyssa on May 15, 2015 at 11:58 am

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.55.46 AM

On March 10-16, 2016 a summit on Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing in the Jewelry Industry will take place in New York City. Attendees will be from all walks of the international jewelry industry, from manufacturers and producers, to retailers, and everyone in between. The Summit Planning Committee is representative of this wide range of participants, and Anna Bario, co-founder of Bario Neal, is on this committee.

The committee has convened twice so far, once in January and once in March of this year, to plan the summit and define its scope. Committee members have collaboratively developed a working definition of “responsible sourcing,” which encompasses the following:

  1. procuring products that are sourced in a manner that protects and sustains the environment, respects and benefits the persons and communities where these products are found;
  2. engaging in actions designed to promote and sustain development of the people and communities where jewelry products are sourced, traded, and sold;
  3. actively engaging in and managing a business’s supply chain in order to implement legally compliant and transparent business practices and ensuring honest dealing

The Planning Committee invites those interested to submit questions and comments to be incorporated into the planning process, and hopes that you’ll spread the word about this event to increase participation–the bigger the event, the more inclusive the discussion will be. The summit will address current challenges in all sectors of the industry, provide information on the supply chain integrity systems that are currently in place, discuss expectations of government regulators, shed light on banks that finance the industry, and discuss consumer participation and attitude towards responsible business practices.

The overall goal of the summit is to provide a platform for open discussion across industry sectors, old and new, regarding challenges and opportunities in the jewelry industry. This open discussion and exchange of information will hopefully lead to increased best practice standards and will enable the development of tools to assist industry members in achieving those higher standards. Additionally, the high attendance this summit hopes to achieve will demonstrate to governments, civil society, the banking community, and consumers that the jewelry industry as a whole is actively working towards sustainability and ethicality, thereby benefitting people working at all levels of the supply chain.

JA New York, the premier trade show for high end jewelry, is providing registration services at no cost for this event, and will grant summit attendees admission to the trade show, which will follow directly after the summit from March 13-16.

If you’re interested in supporting this summit, please visit the indigogo campaign page.

Registration is $400. Please refer to this website for updates and more information.

 

Iquira-ARM Fairmined Workshop: Part 1

By Alyssa on May 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

Anna Bario, co-founder of Bario Neal Jewelry, attended the Cooperativa Multiactiva Agrominera de Iquira–Alliance for Responsible Mining Workshop in Colombia last November, 2014. Iquira is a gold and silver mining cooperative that was formed in 2004 in collaboration with the coffee farms in the town of Iquira—in fact, many of the miners and their families alternate seasonally between artisanal gold mining and coffee cultivation. The goal of the cooperative was to create a platform for community organization, enabling the development of safe and environmentally sustainable mining and cultivation practices that also yield a fair and livable income. Iquira has since achieved Fairmined certification. Anna will recount her experience at the workshop in three posts, first giving an introduction with an inside look at Iquira’s Fairmined practices, followed by a walk through the mining tunnels, and finishing up with a look at the processing plants. Each section will finish with a quick Q&A. We hope you enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.09.47 AM Continue reading Iquira-ARM Fairmined Workshop: Part 1