In early November, I attended the first day of the Mining Diesel Emissions Conference in Markham, Ont. The is the seventh annual meeting of a relatively small group whose aim is to clean up the air that underground miners breathe, through developing and applying new technologies.
I was impressed by the dedication of this group of no more than a couple of hundred people, North America’s experts, most of whom have obviously had a taste of the dust and oil mist underground. They hit the ground running, as the annual meeting is simply an extension of a continuous dialogue.
The MDEC group works as a team–almost a family–even though members come from mining companies, equipment manufacturers, government agencies and consultants. The participants discussed, debated and argued points at the meeting, but were all aware that they have to arrive at demonstrable improvements in emissions levels as new regulatory target dates loom.
I applaud the efforts of MDEC against what must sometimes seems like impossible odds. In making a real difference to the environment of mine employees, they from an important part of the sustainable development vanguard.
A week later, I went to a talk by Bill Emmott, editor of the The Economist magazine based in London, U.K., sponsored by the Fraser Institute of Vancouver. The title of the talk, “How the World Changed on September 11th”, intrigued me. I wanted to be able to bring you his answer.
Emmott is knowledgeable and well-spoken. He shared many of his opinions about what has changed or been accelerated, and what remains to happen in the future, as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. My main impression at the end of his address was that those who planned and executed the attacks have accomplished the destabilization the world, particularly the Islamic world, for the present. My own conclusion is that such bold, broad destruction will inevitably have repercussions that the perpetrators could not have predicted and would probably not have wanted.
My last impressions are from partaking in an oyster feast held by the Toronto branch of the CIM the day after Emmott’s address. There I saw so many familiar faces from the mining industry and so many friends. We were merry, in spite of the downturn in the whole economy, including mining. It wasn’t just the survivors… there were plenty of attendees who have been downsized, right-sized or retired. They weren’t morbidly toasting their demise. They have discovered ways to get by that don’t depend on a stable job or a golden parachute. We were celebrating friendships and the close bonds that being part of a larger effort brings.
I salute the mining community, its best intentions, its greatest successes and growing wisdom. The world is a different place; it is within our reach to make it a better place.