Beyond Extractivism

Supporting communities and social movements on the front line of struggles to protect land, water and life, and to build regenerative alternatives to mining and extractivism.

Grabbing and destroying ecosystems on a vast scale in order to exploit minerals, metals and fossil fuels, the extractive industries are driving climate change and toxifying water and land for generations to come.

When ecosystems are destroyed, communities and their ancestral lands suffer. Backed by state governments, extractive companies are often associated with human and ecological rights abuses, including killings of Earth Defenders who oppose destructive projects.

In recent years Gaia’s long-standing community partners have found their lands, livelihoods and cultures threatened by the extractive industries. We are working alongside these frontline communities to assert their right to defend their homes, revive and strengthen the customary laws and practices that have conserved their territories for millennia, and campaign to protect their sacred lands.

Extractivism is driven by the unsustainable consumption and speculation of rich nations and the world’s elites. Regulating extraction is important, but we also need to explore how we can drastically reduce it. Earth’s systems simply cannot sustain this extractive onslaught.

Going beyond extractivism requires us to transcend today’s dominant anthropocentric worldview that regards Nature as an inert ‘resource’ to be exploited and commodified relentlessly. Together with social movements and allies, Gaia is actively exploring and promoting ‘post-extractivism’ from an Earth-centred perspective. This involves shifting power over Earth’s common wealth away from transnational corporations and elites, back into the hands of citizens and communities committed to sustaining the living world for all species.    

Read on to learn more about our work supporting communities to go beyond extractivism and defend the habitats of all species.

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25th June 2020

Josh Test Blog Post

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8th June 2020

This month in Uruguay – celebrating the oceans!

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Useful reports & publications

13th July 2017

Defenders of the Earth by Global Witness

At least four people are killed every week while protecting land, water and life. Find out how, why and who’s behind the killings of Earth’s defenders. It has never been… Read More

11th September 2016

Protecting Your Community from Mining and other Extractive Industries

A how-to guide for resisting mining and extractivism anywhere and everywhere. Written by Carlos Zorilla, a community organiser and anti-extractive campaigner from Intag, Ecuador, this is a how-to guide for… Read More

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