I am reposting this article since quite a few people have had trouble downloading the pdf. Apologies!
Below is my article for the latest issue of Artlink. Four Technologies focuses on how international big business in the role of sand mining, First Nation ancient laws of caring for country, the annual Lines in the Sand arts festival and Queensland state politics converge every June school holidays at North Stradbroke Island.
Of course, the issues reverberate globally. Mining is an age-old human activity, and it’s not going away. As I did the research and spoke with people for this article, I learned about the complexity of players’ concerns and goals – and the more I realised it’s so important to stay informed.
For instance, Santos – one of the top 30 richest Australian companies – has caused environmental disasters like the 2013 Jackson Oil spill in Queensland’s remote southwest, and was a partner in the natural gas and oil drilling that lead to the 2008 Sidaorjo mud flow in East Java, Indonesia (which displaced over 10,000 people and covered whole towns, farms and industrial sites). Santos funds many wonderful projects that are environmentally-related, like the Santos Conservation Centre at the Adelaide Zoo. Cai Guo-Qiang’s current sculptural installations entitled, Falling back to Earth, at the Gallery of Modern Art here in Brisbane, is partially underwritten by Santos as well, and is environmentally-themed. There’s a great deal of ethical irony here, no?
Most mining companies in Australia and internationally fund the arts and social programs very heavily as part of what they term their ‘social license to operate.’ This is not a regulated, government-sanctioned ‘license’, but rather what the mining and petroleum industries have acknowledged as their means of presenting a kinder, gentler face to the communities in which they function — so that they can function. Read more at http://socialicense.com/.
Here is the article I wrote. If you click on it, a pdf will open in a new window: