Call me old school but I’ve never liked the new and the shiny.
Not for me glitz and bling, whether it’s jewellery or luminous leather. The whole world of bright surfaces feels superficial and deluding.
So I guess I was a natural to be editor of an issue on the price we pay for our obsession with gold.
Don’t get me wrong: people should be free to like what they like. But in these days of ecological crisis the consequences of extraction and end use of everything we consume needs to become part of the equation. This issue raises questions at both the production and consumption stage of gold.
Since almost the dawn of Homo sapiens’ history we have been drawn to the yellow metal. As a sign I once saw in downtown Manhattan proudly proclaimed, ‘Enough is never enough’. But if it’s in the DNA of some to rush about on lucrative treasure hunts, why not search for something more benign and sustainable like wild mushrooms or berries? Both are tasty and will grow back – and you can make a tidy sum out of selling mushrooms. The search for and the hoarding of gold is just too destructive of the environment and disruptive of convivial human society. Which is why this edition makes the case for ending the gold rush entirely.
The struggle to preserve the sanctity of the environment is highlighted in our story from New Zealand/Aotearoa on the granting of legal status to a river. Meanwhile, the not so charitable side of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity order in India is questioned in a first-hand account.
Richard Swift for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Richard Swift argues that our appetite for the shiny metal is both pointless and dangerous.
Weird stuff, gold. While it is almost without any practical use, it has become a standard of value that people are willing to kill and die for. It suffuses our language as some undefined aim we should all be striving to achieve – there’s ‘good as gold’, ‘going for gold’ (in Olympics parlance), gaining the ‘gold standard’ or sometimes just a simple exclamation of ‘gold!’ to emphasize excellence. Anything with which one can make money gets compared to gold: thus water becomes ‘liquid gold’ or oil ‘bl...
A New Zealand river has been granted unprecedented legal rights after a century of Maori pressure. Jen Wilton reports.
Twenty-five years ago, the founders of Drik photo agency had a vision: ‘to bring positive change through the professional and effective use of multimedia communication’. As they celebrate their quarter-century, Shahidul Alam recalls the early days, and offers some iconic photographs from their files.