By the way, is there anything scandalous about getting silver today? I mean, does the silver market invlove immoral and unethical means of getting it to our table like getting diamonds and gold from Africa where some of the money (from certain purchasing companies) goes to the hands of warlords who buy weapons and conduct massacres, etc? I'm just curious. If it does, it's definitely worth discussing.
Last edited by firecracker; 03-14-2007 at 08:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Most of the silver used by Kodak comes from the US and Canada. IDK about Fuji. The quantity that is 'new' comes from many mines on this NA continent, but some comes from SA IIRC. I've never heard any problems with cartels or illegal activity except for the Hunt brothers.
I dont see any hypocrisy at all for wanting to reduce MY use. I would feel a lot more hypocritical if I didnt. But we're all hypocrites in one way or another, and I will oppose the mines in my area whether I do photography or not and whether photography uses only recycled metals or not.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
It would be difficult for me to use any less photographic silver than I already do.
If you really want to reduce world silver consumption, do your bit, and stop using it. There is no middle ground on this one. Otherwise you're arguing as follows: "My use of silver is important, and yours isn't."
I count myself more environmentally aware than most people: I first attended Greenpeace rallies in the 70s, and today I am a Fellow of the RSA which is working towards a zero-waste economy with some real ideas and initiatives.
I wasnt familiar with RSA, but since one of RSAs aims matches one of mine, perhaps you would give your thoughts as to how this RSA aim:
# Encourage sustainability within arts practice
pertains to photography and this thread.
I didnt come into this with any preconceptions, I just wanted to explore the topic. As I said my position as this relates to photography is evolving as I go. I willl be very interested to see how you approach this without avoiding the subject and without being hypocritical- maybe I will learn something.
I do have thoughts on the so-called "necessity" of all the new mines being explored, proposed, and built, but I intend to stay on topic. In order to follow my line of thinking as to how this topic could help make a small overall difference, we would have to go well off-topic and I'm simply not going there, so we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Actually I was trying to eliminate a molehill, although a few people seemed to think I was making a mountain of it. Anyway I make a great deal of difference to the environment and I have for years, but that doesnt mean every day is an overwhelming success. Thats the risk of trying.
You might care to consider joining the RSA, which has been around 250 years.
Finally, like others on this thread, I'd suggest that you are making a mountain out of a molehill in order to salve what must be an exceptionally flexible conscience, without making any difference whatsoever to the environment. Cheers,
Originally Posted by firecracker
Define scandalous. You are setting a mighty high bar for it if it has to include mass murders.
Many (not all) Tahltan people of British Columbia feel that the numerous mining projects being proposed for their spectacular, pristine traditional territory to be a threat to their way of life. Is that scandalous enough? I've been there, and I have to agree with them.
You may want to read about this silver mine in Bolivia and see if the life expectancy of ten years for mine workers there meets your criteria:
People in Potosi show discontent when they talk about mining. Villalobos understands. Mining, he says, “whether in colonial times, or whether by the private sector or by the state-owned Bolivian Mining Corporation, has taken non-renewable resources from the area and left behind only contamination and poverty.
I'm not looking for that at all-I already have plenty of environmental problems without looking for new ones!
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
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So, it's just a "not-in-my-backyard" kind of deal? I'm sorry, but you are not making any sense to me in your argument. However, I do understand your moral dilemma, and no one is criticizing that, just to be sure. And I don't think we are hypocritical in that way. It's just that we take what we need to consume to live for the most part. Don't take too much. Don't let big businesses and governments take advantage of you and your local resources too much. That's all we can do to prevent further environmental damages.
Originally Posted by Wayne
To me any business involving criminal activity is scandalous enough. I would certainly boycott buying certain product(s) and so on if I knew something. Let's say, if a photo product company is buying silver from a business engaged in any criminal activity, it will be a good idea for someone to speak up about it. Is there any? Or if you know a certain mine where workers are currently being treated like sh-t, and we as film photographers are getting silver from them, please warn us.
Originally Posted by Wayne
But like others have already pointed out, you are approaching larger issues here. If I knew how to save silver any more than what's already been discussed, I would tell you. But I don't. If I knew how to save paper and trees, I would tell you that, too, but again I don't any more than what others already know...
Originally Posted by firecracker
No. I hate NIMBYS.
I've come to this a little late I guess, but photographing mines is my BIG thing. So it seems like I should make a comment or two.
Firstly, I stumbled onto this specialty in photography for a list of reasons. Chiefly, they are that as a machinist in a developed country I've been watching jobs and wages and such suffer as manufacturing is moved overseas in part to 'solve' our environmental problems. Which of course is largely balderdash, since moving pollution to places without controls is just cheaper than cleaning it up. Plus, it is out of the consumers' sight.
My next point may seem somewhat contrary. The attached image is from a silver mine in Northern Idaho (sorry, I don't know the mine's name but it enters the same ledge of ore as the infamous Bunker Hill). I'd have used the Bunker Hill but getting in there without permits and a lot of dynamite would be pretty hard today.
The Bunker Hill is not only known as scandalous because of the attempt by the Hunt Brothers to corner the silver market, but also because its operation was an environmental catastrophe. The largest Superfund site in the U.S. is the Couer D'Alene valley, and that is primarily because of lead and zinc emissions from the Bunker Hill's smelting operation. During the 1970's the smelter was run without a scrubber, leading to the contamination of hundreds or thousands of square miles, and a major watershed.
That said, silver usage in photo processes in the present day is fairly low. Among the reasons for Northern Idaho's nearly extinct mining industry is low demand for its products.
If a person wants to make a real difference environmentally, consider where the products you are buying are made. Does that nation and or company make a real effort to minimize their impact? Can you use less of those products? And of course recycle.
I take my spent fixer to a local photo supply store where it is recycled. And I personally intend to continue making my B+W's with silver based film and paper until something truly better comes along. Since my images involve lengthy time exposures, digital isn't a functional alternative yet.
Yes, I believe a reasoned approach would be to use and return as much silver as possible to recycle. Setting an example where it counts.