The challenge of preserving the environment from damage due to the mining and energy industry

Decisions  taken recently  by popular  consultation in different towns of Colombia,  has put in the eye of the hurricane the impact of the petroleum and mining industry on natural resources. This decision becomes of great importance because the royalties from mining and energy exploitation are now centralized and resources no longer come as before to the producing territories, resources that, by the way, were, in a high percentage, squandered by the local governments.

However, it seems that there is a new and growing collective consciousness in the population that has brought  to the table the citizens  participation to decide on water resources  and the use of mining-energy resources in their regions.  Towns like Piedras in the province of Tolima, Tauramena in the province of Casanare  and Guamal in the province  of Meta, are clear examples  of how the citizens (primary constituents)  prefer to conserve  their natural resources rather than venturing into living on petroleum and mining, mainly because, traditionally, they have merely seen wealth  passing by bringing problems  to the producing territories. It is just enough  to see the misery that these communities are still in, despite  the time that they have been  “enjoying  this wealth”,  in towns  where  coal  has been  mined  and  in those  that have ferronickel.  But these industries are not only the cause of serious environmental impacts, but also the companies that are developing important projects in the infrastructure of this country.

Therefore, a stronger policy is required by the national government in defense of the environment and also, to sanction those who violate the law. The domestic and foreign companies will need to of redefine their social and environmental functions. If not, the communities’ discontent will increase, and it will become more and more difficult to exploit these resources. Without doubt, this problem is no stranger to the responsibility that the scientific magazine, ORINOQUIA, has with the region and the country, because its main good is the publication of the research generated especially in the region with the same name.

Because the editor of Orinoquia will leave to enjoy a sabbatical year, the direction of the magazinewill be in charge of the subeditor who will be responsible of continuing our editorial policies and preserve the quality of our publication. To all our authors, reviewers, and collaborators, we wish a Happy New Year and that 2014 will be full of satisfactions.  On our part, let us continue to work in order to keep the magazine in a high level among the Colombian scientific publications.

Agustín Góngora Orjuela;  MV. MSc. Dr. Sci.