If you work with crystals or want to work with crystals, I invite you to a conversation.
Western culture is largely disconnected from the earth.
Because Western consumer culture is more disconnected from the earth than ever, we’re naturally drawn to the beauty, minerals, and frequency of crystals and their grounding and healing properties. However, another result of this disconnect is that we’re largely unaware of how we’re participating in the exploitation of the earth and people when we’re purchasing crystals.
As someone who has crystals, stones, salt lamps throughout my home and relishes wearing crystal jewelry every day, I have had to face this truth.
Crystals are non-renewable byproduct of industrial mining which has a devastating environmental and social impact
Crystals are non-renewable and are generally derived from mining - a money-driven, multibillion-dollar industry that is largely unregulated. Many of the crystals we love to use in our healing work are byproducts of large-scale industrial mining (gold, copper, cobalt, etc.), which has a devastating environmental impact, including erosion, sinkholes, deforestation, habitat loss, and loss of biodiversity, which is threatening the life of all of us. Mining is a major source of air pollution, groundwater pollution, and surface water pollution, and is the largest source of mercury pollution in the world.
The mining industry also has a major human impact as conditions are often unsafe and child labor is common.
If we are interested in healing, we have to question the impact of extraction methods rife with human rights abuses and destruction, and until responsible sourcing and supply chains are required, we have to realize we are participating in an industry that is having a devastating environmental and social impact when we are indiscriminately buying crystals.
How does capitalism and consumerism influence you?
I am learning how Western culture and its influences of capitalism, extraction culture, and colonizer mentality disconnect me from the origin of things. I am becoming more aware of what I am asking of the earth with my choices. I am learning about our tendency to be consumers, to think we need THINGS to be happy or healed.
I urge you, when seeking crystals, to notice how our culture’s capitalism and consumerism are influencing you.
What are you truly needing or longing for?
With that awareness, perhaps you can work with crystals and stones in other ways.
Ethical and friendly ways to work with crystals
Find stones and other natural objects the earth is offering you. Be in gratitude and reciprocity. These can be very powerful! I have done a lot of healing work with found stones!
If you are drawn to a particular crystal, perhaps first simply connect with it meditatively. Ask to work with it. Learn about its “medicine.” It doesn’t necessarily have to be in your hands to learn and heal with it!
Trade with friends.
Buy from ethical sources and speak about sources with those from whom you purchase. We can, as consumers, demand transparency about a crystal’s origins, the conditions of the mine, and the route it took to arrive in the shop, just as we are doing with other goods like food and clothing. You can search on the internet for sellers committed to ethical and sustainable practices.
If it feels aligned, you might honorably mine your own, which has a much lower impact on the earth.
If it is really in your heart, you can even return crystals to the earth.
I know my words and learning are imperfect and evolving. We are all on our own journeys and make changes where we are called and where we can.