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The Australia-ASEAN Partnership at 40

17 September 2014 5:32 PM

http://theconversation.com/the-australia-asean-partnership-at-40-past-dilemmas-and-future-prospects-31279

Gold, Water and the Struggle for Basic Rights in El Salvador

15 September 2014 2:15 PM

http://resources.oxfam.org.au/pages/view.php?ref=1508&k

Introduction
Set among dense green foliage and steep hills, the San Sebastian River, La Union department in eastern El Salvador runs a light orange color, depending on the extent of rainfall. It has variously also flowed anything from a pale yellow to a deep orange. The San Sebastian is a ‘dead’ river, in that no life exists within it, and its water is poisonous to drink. The unnatural color of the San Sebastian River is a consequence of ‘acid mine drainage’, which conventionally includes sulfuric acid, arsenic and iron oxide (often referred to as ‘yellow boy’), along with other possible poisonous trace elements. The acid mine drainage to the San Sebastian River derives from a stream the starts among the steep slopes above the village of San Sebastian, adjacent to a formally abandoned gold mine. A visit to the mine site clearly showed where the surface run-off from the mine site occurred, although acid mine drainage also occurs underground and leaches out of the soil along the hillside into the stream.
According to El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the river carries nine times the maximum permissible level of cyanide, approximately 1,300 times the permissible amount of iron (MARN 2012) and an unknown but certainly toxic level of arsenic.

The stream itself was a bright, almost luminous orange color, feeding directly into the San Sebastian River, which itself flows into the Gorascoran River. This river marks the eastern border between El Salvador and Honduras and then flows into the Gulf of Fonseca, also shared by Nicaragua, where it poisons the local fish stocks. Not only is the water from the San Sebastian poisonous, the community of San Sebastian says that it suffers a very high level of quite specific illnesses usually associated with arsenic and metals poisoning (see Zarraga 2014:41 for detailed account of the numerous chronic illnesses associated with arsenic poisoning, also Ventura 2011), and is required to truck in drinking water. For an impoverished community, this represents a great, almost unbearable, expense.

Not only does acid mine drainage seep from the mine above the village but, sitting abandoned in unsecured and deteriorating shipping containers, are approximately 23 barrels containing both sodium cyanide and iron sulfate, also used in gold mining. There is believed to be enough cyanide in the containers to kill approximately a half a million people.

In a country in which there has been little gold mining, the San Sebastian mine and its consequences stand as a stark illustration of what can happen when there is a confluence of a highly toxic industry, a vulnerable topography, high population density and generalized water shortage. It is, in short, a human and ecological disaster, which retains the potential to become very much worse.
A case in point of a possible new and much larger project is the El Dorado gold mining project in Cabañas district, which was initiated by Pacific Rim and upon takeover was assumed by the Australian-headquartered company OceanaGold. As a consequence, there has developed a popular movement against further gold mining – indeed all mining – in El Salvador, now supported by the government, which has by refusing to grant new permits declared a moratorium on the granting of mining permits. The government of El Salvador has to the time of writing refused to issue a permit for the mine to commence exploitation, based on strongly held environmental concerns and the fact that the predecessor company, Pacific Rim, failed to complete the necessary environmental and feasibility studies required by law. These concerns focus in particular on the pollution of both regional water supplies and, via its watershed, the main (64 per cent) water supply for El Salvador of the Lempa River. This moratorium is now confronted by an international mining industry that wishes to pursue mining in the country, regardless of local opposition, and which has taken the country to international legal arbitration in an attempt to force the issue. This paper examines some of the issues that have led to this dispute.

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The anti doping system is broken - now is the time to fix it and to do that properly.

23 August 2014 10:37 AM

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Sexuality Education Matters - Deakin University

Sexuality Education Matters is a Deakin University series of videos showing footage of pre-service teachers and lecturers discussing their experiences and challenges, as well as some examples of teaching and learning activities in action.

Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific Seminar Series - Deakin University

The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP) seminar series aims to bring together academics and practitioners to discuss key issues facing cultural heritage and museums. The CHCAP is a leading research centre in the heritage and museum studies field, based in the Alfred Deakin Research Institute and the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University. Established in 2001, as part of an agreement signed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Deakin University, the aims of CHCAP are: - To develop a critical knowledge base in which to understand the diverse ways in which cultural heritage (embodied in places, collections and exhibitions as well as in intangible forms of cultural production) constitutes a medium to value and understand the relationship between past, present and future as well as the need to conserve, manage and interpret cultural heritage. - To advocate for an understanding of heritage that not only influences and shapes cultural identity, but fosters cross-cultural understanding within our increasingly globalised world. - To inform the development of policy and practice in the interrelated field of heritage and museum studies by undertaking research which is both nationally and internationally relevant and addresses the most pressing issues in this field.

Environmental Science - Deakin University

Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) allows you contribute in a professional capacity to the study and management of wildlife populations both in Australia and overseas. Wildlife and Conservation Biology has a strong focus on hands-on fieldwork. Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) provides you with the skills and knowledge to manage the interaction between people and the environment, and to satisfy society's needs for clean water, fresh air and healthy soils through the sustainable use of natural resources, environments and ecosystem services.

Changing Contours of Global Order - Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky presented a lecture 'Changing Contours of Global Order', a look at our drastically changing world, and the implications for domestic and world order on 4 November 2011. This was a free public lecture and was Professor Chomsky's only public appearance in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Chomsky was an invited guest of Deakin University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Social Media & Technology in Australia - Deakin University

Social media and mobile technologies have taken off in Australia. This collection of audio and video content looks at the various perspectives from business to sporting organisations to security and families.

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