Bonao’s breathtaking landscape initially stunned all of us when we arrived. Today (6-28), during our Global Business day, we learned about the true cost of maintaining and defending this beautiful and lively ecosystem. This morning we visited Comidom, a small mining company that shares that it has priorities in limiting its impact on the environment. There we talked with environmental scientist Jonathan Ruiz who believed that his work with Comidom and being an environmental scientist are not conflicting, but complementary.

Ruiz felt that being an environmental scientist and being  passionate about mining has expanded his understanding of the world positively. After difficult questioning for Ruiz, we visited Loma Miranda, a mountain side community of activists that also contain bodies of water that are crucial as they provide water for human consumption and farming for resources such as rice across the nation.

Loma Miranda has been threatened by large mining companies for decades which has caused the community to raise passionate activists who have to defend their land through peaceful protesting. These activists lay down their lives to ensure that Loma Miranda will not be destroyed. The dishonorable mining companies have utilized bribery and violence to force Loma Miranda’s community to leave, but they refuse. If the mining companies were to succeed, the water there, which is used in hospitals, schools, and communities all over the DR, would be poisoned and the ecosystem of Loma Miranda deforested and destroyed. After talking with the members of the community, we learned that the water found at Loma Miranda symbolizes life and permits it to flourish. One member of the community even referred to the water as the spinal cord of the nation. Loma Miranda was a truly beautiful place filled with music and spirit. This powerful spirit was seen in the eyes of Mama Miranda, the oldest member of the Loma Miranda community who has been fighting for Loma Miranda since the age of seven. Mama Miranda inspired us to recognize that despite being members of the youth population, we are capable of amazing feats and creating change.

If the members of Loma Miranda can defend their land against corporations with more power and money, then we can also make change against prevalent issues at home. Although Comidom’s efforts in limiting their impact on the environment is appreciated, the process of mining is still detrimental to communities. We need to reexamine the destruction of wildlife that we feel are necessary. Mining is not sustainable and resources will run out, this is something even Ruiz stated. Something that we will take home from today is the concept of sustainability.  We need to ask ourselves questions regarding how we can contribute to the protection of the environment and still advance our technology appropriately. This is what is not conflicting, advancing our world and minimizing waste while caring for the environment. We hope to share this passion for activism and recognizing the power each of us have to make a difference with all of you.
With hope for the future and its endless possibilities it has for positive growth,

Nicole and René