(This originally appeared as a comment by Orion D. on a video link shared by Arnel Edrinal/Lead Philippines on the Get Real group on Facebook.)
What a lot of people totally don't understand is that AGRICULTURE has actually adversely affected the environment way worse than mining has.
Most of what we call farmland today long long ago used to be LUSH FORESTS which were cleared through Kaingin or intense logging. In the Philippine setting, it was through kaingin.
Agriculture requires thousands of acres to have real economies of scale, while mining usually directly affects JUST A FEW acres of normally unused ROCKY MOUNTAIN areas which normally wouldn't be extremely forested to begin with (they are rocky areas with just a little topsoil).
Moreover, the outputs of responsible mining which invests heavily in environmental safeguards and worker-safety standards/procedures actually provides direct economic benefits to thousands more people PER ACRE than agriculture does. Not only do responsible/well-invested mining operations create relatively well-paying jobs (again, this is not mom-and-pop mining but rather responsible mining we're talking about), they also benefit the nearby communities in terms of the creation of new jobs, new economic opportunities, and the direct investment by responsible mining companies in HOSPITALS/medical facilities, quality schools, roads, and other infrastructure as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility thrust.
If there's mining that should rightfully be denounced, it's the small-scale mom-and-pop mining that DOES NOT INVEST in safety or environmental protection methods and instead does a Jeepney/Bus Boundary style scheme of getting independent miners to rent picks and shovels from the "mom-and-pop" mining company, do their own mining at their own risk, and then at the end of the day, SELL whatever ore or rocks they get back to the company based on weight and mineral content, usually at rock-bottom prices.
These "miners" are not paid wages. They're made to pay for renting equipment and often pay an "entry fee" to get into the mines. Their compensation is whatever money they make from "SELLING" the rocks they extract back to the company.
If they work 15 hours and have no rocks to present, they don't get paid. That's how mom-and-pop small-scale mining works. And obviously, these mom-and-pop small-time operators DO NOT GIVE A sh!te about building schools, hospitals and doing safety audits, conducting safety procedural training, or environmental protection standards AT ALL.
But the BIG PLAYERS who have the money/financial backing and technological know-how to invest in high-tech SAFETY procedures and set up high standards for environmental protection, these are the ones who PAY REAL REGULAR WAGES to their workers, pay for a whole lot of insurance, are subjected to strict international standards of safety and environmental protection, etc, and really go out of their way to make sure that what they do does not hurt nearby communities.
But Gina Lopez is one of those so-called activists who isn't really out to protect the environment... She's out to keep mining firms away so that when they all close down and cause their mine-sites to be abandoned, THE LOPEZ FAMILY can then go in and buy those mine-sites for a song and that's when they'll sing the pro-mining song.
This is surprising at all because that's how the BenPres Lopezes got hold of MERALCO.
They used the CHRONICLE, their very own "family newsletter", to write scathing anti-foreign investor articles and attacked "foreign imperialists", using so-called "Nationalist" rhetoric to hurl dirt at the American-owned General Public Utilities Corporation which owned the old MERALCO.
In 1962, after a series of unfair media attacks, the Americans at GPU decided they had enough of the xenophobic crap that the Ben-Pres Lopezes were hurling at them in the Lopez-owned Chronicle newspaper, so that they immediately packed up and sold MERALCO at a relatively discounted rate because they were in a hurry to liquidate it.
That's how the Ben-Pres Lopezes got hold of MERALCO. They swooped in and bought MERALCO at a discount based on a loan. And that's how they ended up owning MERALCO.
That's exactly what the Ben-Pres Lopezes are using their very own Gina Lopez for: to stir up anger and hatred against mining firms, so that eventually, mining firms leave/pack up, and then the IDLE LAND or the dormant mining companies go down in share-price so that the stingy Ben-Pres Lopezes can SWOOP in to buy it for a small fraction of the original share price.
Sneaky, huh? ;)