Supporting Communities Affected by Mining

More than 300 organizations, from racially and economically diverse communities, participate in WMAN- the Western Mining Action Network.  WMAN provides opportunities for locally-based citizen groups in the US and Canada to educate themselves, influence decision making, and cooperate to create positive social change that goes beyond the boundaries of any one location or issue.

WMAN now has an Indigenous Coordinator

The Western Mining Action Network (WMAN) has hired  Sayokla Williams as our Indigenous Coordinator to help facilitate network functions and activities for WMAN’s Indigenous Caucus.   You can contact Sayokla with your questions, ideas, and suggestions via email @

Free Citizen Lecture Series

WMAN hosts a series of free informational webinars and conference calls. These webinars and calls give WMAN participants access to expertise and updates on current issues facing mining-impacted communities. See our  Programs  for more information, updates, and announcements.

2019 Hot Topics and Resource Media Webinars and Lectures:

Climate communications: how to cut through the doubt | Thursday, December 5, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

What’s the secret sauce for mobilizing people around climate solutions? Is our current approach misguided? Is there any way to get people to act on something that may seem far in the distant future for them? How do you frame this problem without overwhelming your audience? Get the answers to these questions, plus the stumper of all time:  why do highly educated people still not believe in climate change?! During this webinar, Liz Banse from Resource Media will talk about climate politics and climate communications, the best practices for people working on mining and other resource extraction issues where climate change factors into current and future impacts and planning. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

Campaign email writing | Thursday, November 14, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

This webinar, led by Refugio Mata of Resource Media, will be on campaign email writing best practices. Learn how to tap into the power of narrative and use email as a tool to activate supporters. The ability to leverage ‘crisitunity’ moments, applying the concept of theory of change to bring clarity to campaign goals, and taking your audience through a ladder of engagement experience, can up your digital strategy game. Refugio will go over these and other online organizing concepts employed by the likes of, SumOfUs, and Color of Change.

Strategic communications around litigation | Thursday, October 17, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

There are two courts in America. One is the court of law, and the other is the court of public opinion. Much news coverage of environmental lawsuits leads with headlines like, “Environmentalists Sue!” We hear from our partners in the field that they are concerned about such coverage, as these stories often portray environmentalists as the bad guys – and the stories impact their ability to work in their communities, state legislatures, Congress and the Administration. Can you win in the court of law and lose in the court of public opinion? You sure can. But, you don’t have to. Join this webinar to learn how you can communicate your lawsuits and successfully demonstrate what is at stake. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

Impact Area Value for Mines | Wednesday, October 9, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Have you ever wondered about the real cost of mining ‘sacrifice zones?’  In this webinar, Fair Mining Collaborative (FMC) presents a new way to calculate the cost of mining that accounts for the intrinsic value of land and water.

Since 1836, the colony/province of British Columbia has externalized the environmental costs of mining. For nearly two centuries, the economic story, steeped in reverence and nostalgia, has focused entirely on earnings: annual production value ($9.65 billion, 2018), and primary and secondary benefits ($1.3 billion, 2017).  Taxes and royalties have averaged 2.75% of annual production value since 1985.

However, aside from the relatively recent practice of reclamation bonding (currently a $1.4 billion deficit), nothing has accounted for the direct, indirect, and cumulative damage to the lands and waters sacrificed to mining over 184-years.

What is the ultimate cost of these ‘sacrifice zones’ – areas written off to mining – varying in scope and scale from 1,800 derelict sites, to large open pits, to thousands of placer mines? What is the net benefit to the province when the costs to the land and water are finally factored into the annual production values and benefits?

To the extent possible, FMC has accounted for all production value, taxes and royalties, and primary and secondary benefits, to paint a picture of mining’s economic contribution, then weighed these benefits against the externalized environmental damage incurred by mining using our Impact Area Value™ (IAV) formula.

FMC applied the IAV formula to two mines – Gibraltar and Mount Polley – and arrived at a combined area impact equivalent of $301 million CAD. What is the cost of the rest of the major mine inventory, the legacy mines, and the placer mines?

The IAV formula and calculator is not meant to replace other methods. It is merely a quick and easy tool for anyone to use to assess and capture mining’s externalized costs to the land and water, and account for the cumulative impact mining projects have relative to others within a specific region.

The Impact Area Value (“IAV”) for a mine, group of mines, or mining activities, in isolation, or as part of the accumulated development within a specific region is expressed:

NAV * (PF + Rf (PIF + WB))

“The per-hectare natural area value (NAV), multiplied by the sum of: the project footprint (PF) -plus-risk factor (Rf); multiplied by the total project impact footprint (PIF) plus-surface-area of water bodies (WB).”

In this short webinar, FMC will discuss, explain, and get feedback on the IAV formula to inform and improve the calculator before its launch later in 2019.

Presenter Biographies:

Dr. Alan Mehlenbacher currently teaches Economics at the University of Victoria and provides pro bono economic analysis for environmental and social justice organizations.  He previously worked as a biologist, statistician, mathematician, software developer, IT manager, and IT management consultant with private and public sector clients in British Columbia, Alberta, and Alaska.

Glenn Grande is enjoying his 8th year with Fair Mining Collaborative (3rd as executive director) and holds a law degree from the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, with a focus on Aboriginal Law, inherent rights, and self-governance. Glenn is also a teacher, and teaches all aspects of B.C. mining laws and practices, as well as a course for non-Indigenous people on reconciliation. He is mixed Cree and European ancestry, and resides with his family in Victoria, B.C.

Communicating science, AKA translating science for the public and policy makers | Thursday, September 19, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Join Liz Banse from Resource Media for a training on communicating science in times that are marked by profound anti-science currents, including among federal policymakers. This webinar will help you build the practical skills to talk about your work, and the data, in ways that are both accessible and accurate.

Maximizing the impact of your next report release | Wednesday, August 21, 11 am Pacific Time

An important part of our work is to use research to help convince decision makers about the impacts of mining policy on our communities, cultures and the environment. More than likely, you will be using reports to help make your case. Reports can be immensely powerful communication tools if packaged and promoted well. In this webinar, Debbie Slobe from Resource Media will discuss:

  • Why reports are important communication tools
  • The challenges of using reports as communication tools
  • Strategies for improving reports, including ways to package and promote information, and make reports come alive with visuals, interactive features, and more
  • How to pitch reports to the media
  • Examples of winning reports from public interest groups.

Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

How to write blogs and op-eds and get them published! | Wednesday, July 24, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Want to learn how to write a blog post that gets read and shared? If it’s no fun for the writer, it’s often no fun for the reader, so let us show you a step-by-step approach to make those words flow and get your message out! We’ll tackle op-eds in this webinar, too. Op-eds still remain an effective arrow in the quiver of tools for influencing the public and policymaker discourse around an issue or campaign. A good column can create some buzz among decision-makers and become part of the online content others can draw on to inform subsequent coverage. In this webinar former journalist and current Resource Median Cat Lazaroff look at the approaches to writing an op-ed that will appeal to editors and be persuasive with your audience. Cat will hone in on critical aspects such as the opening, closing, tone, and dealing with opponents – including pitfalls to avoid and techniques to employ. Liz Banse will also discuss letters to the editor. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

Ethical storytelling: Are our stories reinforcing harmful power dynamics? | Tuesday, June 11, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

It’s no secret that storytelling is a powerful force when it comes to social change. Stories create meaning and connect us to our shared humanity. As advocates, we use stories to center the voices of those most impacted, fuel movements and disrupt dominant narratives. But who gets to tell our stories? And under what terms? How can we ensure we’re not reinforcing harmful power dynamics and stereotypes when we tell the stories of marginalized communities, especially those we don’t identify with ourselves? In this webinar, we’ll discuss principles for practicing storytelling ethically to avoid exploitation. We’ll discuss interview power dynamics, informed and ongoing consent, strength-based narratives and the importance of relationship building, transparency and accountability. We’ll also share tools and templates for practical application. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

Your organizational brand: perception, reality and your ability to draw in supporters | Wednesday,  May 22, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Everyone has a brand these days. From Apple to your neighbor Adam. What sets your organization apart and distinguishes you from your peers/competitors? What makes you special? Why do people like to partner with your organization, or volunteer with you? Branding is about focusing on what you do and communicating the value of that work to the people who benefit so that they will support your work financially, or help you achieve your goals through partnerships and alliances. In this session, we will discuss the role your organization and its brand identity play in moving issues forward (or not) and bringing more supporters into the fold. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

An Update on 1872 Mining Law Reform in the 116th Congress | Thursday, April 18, 10 a.m. Pacific Time

Join Earthworks staff for an update on the latest efforts to reform the 1872 Mining Law, a timeline for bill introduction, organizing activities, and what we would like to accomplish.  Participants must register directly with Earthworks.

Engaging the next generation with Instagram |Thursday, April 18, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Visual storytelling is the name of the game on Instagram, a platform increasingly popular among younger generations. In fact, Instagram currently boasts more than one billion monthly active users and 59% of online adults 18-29 years old use the network. From Instagram “stories” and hashtags, to Instagram Live and takeovers, we’ll share all the best ways to harness this powerful tool and engage your existing and new audiences. We’ll also talk about best practices for ensuring inclusivity and respect in all your posts, such as alternative text for people who are visually impaired, using ancestral names when providing location information, and more. Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

Twitter as a tool for advocacy |Friday, March 29, 11 a.m. Pacific Time

Did you know that a great number of journalists and politicians are more likely to respond to a tweet than any other form of communication? With over 300 million monthly users, Twitter has quickly become the platform of choice for many groups seeking to reach influencers and decision makers, and engage their followers. By creating a well-designed Twitter account, organizations can tell their story, pitch journalists, enlarge their volunteer base, connect with local representatives and keep their supporters up to speed on the latest news. This how-to webinar will outline how to set up your profile, develop a content strategy, produce quality and relevant content, maximize your audience and impact and track your results.  Led by Resource Media with funding from the True North Foundation.

To find tip sheets on communications, from op-ed writing to media relations, please visit Resource Media’s Toolbox page at:

Tailings dam failure/safety | Thursday, Mar 7, 2019 Noon Pacific Time

In the wake of the recent catastrophic mine tailings dam failure in Brumadinho, Brazil, there is a renewed urgency to address the increasing rate of failures worldwide.  A discussion will be led by Earthwork’s Payal Sampat about collective “asks” for more responsible tailings dam management.  This discussion will cover existing tailings dams at risk of failure and new dams yet to be constructed. Information from the Mount Polley Expert Panel, World Mine Tailings Failures Database, and IRMA’s Standard can help frame this discussion.

1872 Mining Law reform in the 116th Congress | Thursday, February 7, 11 a.m. Pacific

It’s been over ten years since we’ve had the opportunity to have a serious conversation about mining reform in Washington, D.C. Earthwork’s policy team will lead a discussion on the prospects for 1872 Mining Law reform in the 116th Congress. Learn about bill details, timing, and how you can get involved to help move this long overdue reform forward. The Earthwork’s team also will answer any questions you might have about the specifics around the legislation, and what the process to move the bill through the House this Congress will entail.

To inquire about participation in our webinars, contact Mary at: