The majority of gold thats mined each year is being used for jewelry fabrication. Somewhere between 75% and 85% of globally mined gold ends up as earrings, bracelets and rings. In the United States, over 40% of the gold produced goes to jewelry.
Which is where you come in. Each year, 1.6 million students buy class rings. This accounts for approximately 20 tons of gold and silver. Unfortunately, silver is no better than gold in its impact on the environment. Just last year, silver mining dumped 100 million tons of toxic mine tailings into the waterways of the Black Hills of South Dakota where the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe live.
So, were working with youth across the country to develop new ways to commemorate the rites of passage from high school and college. For example, instead of buying class rings, your school could decide to plant trees in your local community or protect rainforests in a developing country. Or you could decide to buy rings made of eco-friendly materials or native crafts which support indigenous peoples. These alternatives mark the rite of passage from high school or college in a way that truly nurtures prides in ourselves and each other.
While inflation, the stock market, government actions, mining trends and environmental concerns all affect the price of gold, demand is a vital factor and the jewelry industry is the biggest demander. A concerted effort by students across the country could have a major impact on the gold mining industry.
As consumers, we can take a stand and say NO to the purchase of jewelry made from unecological gold and silver. The World Gold Councils promotional tag line is "Nothing Makes You Feel as Good as Gold". But how good do we feel when we wear the fate of indigenous peoples upon our fingers, toxified rivers upon our wrists, and rainforests around our necks? The majority of gold mining is the pits! Let's spread the word to stop buying gold!