As we sprint toward the November 2020 election, there are many things on our collective mind: who will take office in January 2021, if social and racial injustices will ever end, and when we’ll be able to safely hug our loved ones again. Yet, as usual, life continues to throw never-ending hurdles our way, forcing us to find the strength to overcome incredible odds during a time when the stakes are high and personal action is paramount.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés once said, “Do not lose heart: we were made for these times.” This has never been more true. We are here on this planet, right now, to help correct the injustices happening to our fellow persons, our environment, our local communities, and our mountains.

Over the last few months, South32 has announced plans for the Hermosa Project’s exit route, water usage, and power source. These plans, which will likely affect the community and the incredible biodiversity of our Sky Island region, have sparked several concerns in town. Here are my concerns:

In July, South32 announced their massive de-watering plans, which will draw down an estimated 1.6 billion gallons of water per year for four years in order to help them reach their target minerals. Most of the water they use will be released into Harshaw Creek, with a forecasted rise of 20 feet in some areas and depletion in others. But we are in a sustained 20-year drought. Since our residents, private well users, ranchers, farmers, and wildlife all rely on the watershed for survival, how will this de-watering plan impact our region – now and in the future?

In August, South32 announced plans to construct a 32-foot-wide industrial arterial road for heavy trucks that will connect Harshaw Road to State Road 82. This exit route, the Cross Creek Connector, will run through a residential area. While common sense says this proposed road should require rezoning and other permitting processes, I have been informed by county staff that the mine can put in this road without going through a rezoning process – a decision that makes no logical sense based on how many locals it will impact.

In September, UniSource Energy Services announced the Rio Rico-Harshaw power line that will serve the Hermosa Project. Their plans do not include who will pay for this project, how much it will cost, or if Flux Canyon Road will be upgraded.

We need to ask for more details before we can know how this overground power line will impact our community.

We have come to the crossroads of two futures: one where the mountains are forever changed by industrialized mining and one where we protect the earth’s limited gifts and resources from corporate profit. Help me defend the Patagonia Mountains this election season. Take action and stand up for our home. Remember, we only have one.

Editor’s note: Anna Sofia is Communications and Outreach Coordinator for PARA.