Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Ignore noisy Cockpit activists

Published:Saturday | September 21, 2019 | 12:07 AM


Mining should not be permitted in the Cockpit Country or any other area where it will undermine the ecosystem. However, outside of these protected zones, the venture must be allowed. Some activists object to mining in Jamaica and not only in the Cockpit Country. Protecting the environment is important, but such a position is untenable.

When new competition disrupts old industries, entrepreneurs innovate or close their doors. But innovative and prosperous businesses will not cease operations to appease professional activists. No mining company will halt operations because of the shrillness of the demands of environmentalists.

Those opining that mining degrades the environment may lobby for new processes to reduce the risks of mining. Moreover, activists noting that employees in the mining sector should simply find new jobs are obnoxious and puerile. Critics imploring workers to retool, when their job is not exposed to creative destruction, should practise what they preach, by making themselves redundant in light of robots being viewed as alternatives to human labour.

The earth is naturally inhospitable, yet human ingenuity makes it adaptable for mass-based flourishing. Radical environmentalism demonstrated by many defenders of the Cockpit Country is an anti-human ideology underpinned by an even greater anti-progress mindset. These romantics want to return to an idyllic pre-capitalist past that did not exist.

Contrary to what many believe, market economies are less polluted and are more likely to follow environmental regulations than socialist ones (Diaz-Briquets and Perz-Lopez, 2000). Further, several of these environmentalists are engaging in empty virtue-signalling, because they own phones produced using rare-earth minerals, obtained by mining.

Like other debates in Jamaica, discourse on mining is guided by loose talk and those using important issues to build their brands. Andrew Holness should pay no attention to environmentalists politicising the issue.