I have to admit it, I am a TV junkie at times. Mostly I watch the News with Brian Wiliams, Cobert, MotoGP, WorldSuperbike, Whale Wars, HBO (Boardwalk, Rome, Deadwood – my favorite) and a lot of Discovery and NatGeo shows. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a new Discovery Channel show called Gold Rush. I quickly became addicted to this story of several, desperate groups of American miners in search of Pay Dirt.
But…as much as I like this show and can’t wait to see how this season ends I feel very conflicted about the value of this show. Net, net… I sympathize with the miner camps and their desperate struggle to support their families back home. As a business owner myself, I also respect the risks and financial gambles they take in search of ‘Pay Dirt.’ I like these people and want them to succeed, almost.
But…as I watch their methods of gold extraction amidst the beautiful backdrop of wild Alaska, all I see are bulldozers and other heavy mining equipment stripping pristine forests to remove ten to thirty feed of top soil so they can get to the gold resting on top of the bedrock below. As the season progresses the mining camps are transformed from pristine forests to god awful wastelands of ugly dirt mounds and water pools. So for the sake of a few Americans in search of financial salvation, the cost is unbelievable environmental destruction. At this point, I reluctantly do hope they all go broke trying to make a living this way.
Its shows like this that I wish were never made – although I suspect it’s been great for Discovery Channel revenues. I think it gives even more, mostly poor folks ideas to go to Alaska in search of Pay Dirt – with little remorse for their environmental plundering.