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A popular definition of Extractivism is "... those activities which remove large quantities of natural resources that are not processed (or processed only to a limited degree), especially for export" according to the this paper by Alberto Acosta.

According to Wikipedia "Many actors are involved in the process of extractivism. These include but are not limited to community members, transnational corporations (TNCs) and the government. Trends have demonstrated that countries do not often extract their own resources; extraction is often led from abroad. These interactions have contributed to extractivism being rooted in the hegemonic order of global capitalism.

As the rush for the materials of the green transition accelerates, there seems no doubt that extractivism will also increase.

On this page I will look at some of its consequences.

Extractivism, costs and benefits

In this article the authors argue that extractivism is centrally implicated in the uneven costs of the climate crisis, and one of the central drivers of biodiversity loss.

They argue that is is not extraction per se that is the key problem, it is the fact that it is "lopsided", with vast quantities of materials being removed and exported, with much of the beneftis of the materials being accumulated far away from the source of the materials. It is a south to north drain of benefit, in fact.

And when discussing the costs and benefits, the authors also argue that much of the cost is borne by the extractive sites and their local people in terms of pollution, dispossesion of indigenous rights, etc. whereas much of the benefits are consquential riches for distant shareholders, states and CEOs.

And as the article says "we need to get to work on building a world where health, safety and wellbeing are not tied to endless extraction."

Chile's sacrific zones

One definition of a sacrifice zone is this one from Wikipedia: "a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by heavy environmental alterations or economic disinvestment, often through locally unwanted land".

However, alternative definitions from the same source include "A sacrifice zone is when there is no choice in the sacrifice. Someone else is sacrificing people and their community or land without their permission."

Chile has five long-established sacrifice zones, and in recent times their continued existence has become increasingly controversial, as discussed in this article. And - as the article also reports - Chile is now in the process of replacing its constitution with a doctrine that could put an end to sacrifice zones.