Because its economy based largely on natural resource exports, Venezuela faces particular challenges with regard to environmental sustainability. How can a country draw on the Earth’s riches while ensuring their long-term availability?
One way is to prevent excess exploitation. This is exactly what Venezuela’s Ministry of the Environment has recently done by curtailing gold mining activities in the Imataca Forest in the southeastern state of Bolívar. This region of Venezuela boasts an amazing amount of bird species, and birding is one of the country’s top tourist attractions. Five major Indigenous groups living in and around the Imataca Forest have been adversely affected by the mining.
The Ministry of the Environment responded the concerns of environmentalists and local communities alike last week when it rescinded a permit allowing gold and copper exploitation by the company Gold Reserve Inc. Meanwhile, another firm called Crystallex International was denied a request to expand its own mining operations. Now that sustainability is the goal, many now believe that Venezuela’s natural wealth will last for a long time to come.