This is a slideshow I made in 2004 when I was working with GlobalAware Independent Media.
Af-flu-ence (af’looens) noun – abundance of money, and other material goods; wealth: to live in affluence.
Its deadly and mind-numbing effects are devastating communities world wide.
It is the driving force behind many of today’s environmental problems.
It places a heavy burden on our physical and mental health.
And is a direct cause of suffering for millions around the world.
The gap between the world’s rich and poor has never been wider.
Yet it is neither chance nor bad luck that keeps people trapped in bitter, unrelenting affluence.
There are human factors, like a colonial history that suffocates any chance of healing, an unjust global trade system, and inadequate awareness of sustainability.
The consequences of Affluence have long been kept in the dark.
Consume less. Be sustainable. Challenge desire.
High in the mountains of the Philippine island of Mindoro, members of the Alangan tribe live in the village of Kisluyan, on the same land their ancestors have lived on for generations.
Kisluyan is one of 26 indigenous villages that face the threat of displacement by the Mindoro Nickel Project, a proposed open pit nickel mine on their ancestral land.
The Alangan are one of eight indigenous tribes in Mindoro, known collectively as the Mangyan. The Mangyan once occupied the whole island. As more and more settlers began moving to the island, the Mangyan were gradually pushed off the more fertile areas higher and higher into the mountains. Now, with the proposed mine threatening to push them off their mountain, they are left with nowhere to go.
For the Alangan, their land is the very foundation of their identity. Generation after generation, the Mangyan have been taught to care for the land; “we take care of the land, and the land will take care of us.” Many of them believe that disaster will befall them if their sacred lands are desecrated by the proposed nickel mine.
Someone Else’s Treasure is an ongoing multimedia project which brings to light some of the experiences of indigenous communities around the world that have been impacted by the global mining industry – including communities in the Philippines, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Chile, Canada, and Guatemala.
This multimedia piece focuses on communities in San Marcos, Guatemala, living next to the Canadian-owned Marlin Mine. The first two songs are by Grupo Kotzic, who are from San Marcos, singing about the peoples’ resistance to the mine. The third song is a live recording from inside the Church of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, San Marcos, where community members were singing a song they wrote about their experiences with the mine.
In an effort to better understand the true cost of an industry that shapes the world around all of us, the focus of Someone Else’s Treasure is on the externalized – the men, women, and children, that have been left out of the equations and are therefore forced to pay the price for someone else’s treasure.
Now available in Spanish: La Riqueza de Otros – Guatemala
Read the photo essay for more information: