‘Cyanide kills!’ Environmental movements and the construction of environmental risk at Roşia Montană, Romania



This study examines the issue of environmental risk involved in a proposed gold-mining project at Roşia Montană, Romania, as it was articulated in the discourses and strategies of the environmentalists protesting against it. We base our paper on the idea that environmental risk has a socially constructed horizon and that counter-discourses on risk represent a fundamental contribution of the environmental protesters to the anti-mining movement. This opposition can be integrated in a broader debate regarding the social and environmental costs of industrial development. The alternative conceptualisation of risk goes beyond narrowly defined ecological issues and applies to the more encompassing perspective of ‘communities at risk’. The anti-mining movement's complex repertoire of contention and especially its challenging discourses on risk make it a unique development in post-socialist environmentalism.