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.

Related news

The YLNM team in Indonesia
12th December 2023

Activists unite in Indonesia to Say No to Mining

The Yes to Life, No to Mining Global Solidarity Network, of which Gaia is a proud member, recently joined 340 anti-mining activists from around the world to reaffirm the right… Read More

Tero Mustonen_Credit-Goldman Environmental Prize_03
25th April 2023

Gaia Partner, Tero Mustonen, Wins The 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize!

We are thrilled that the 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize has been awarded to Tero Mustonen, president and founder of Gaia’s longstanding partners, the Snowchange Cooperative. Tero has been recognised for… Read More

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Useful reports & publications

5th May 2021

Guide: protecting your community from the extractive industries

A how-to guide for resisting mining and extractivism anywhere and everywhere.   Read this classic how-to guide for resisting mining, re-designed by the Yes to Life, No to Mining solidarity… Read More

27th March 2021

A Material Transition – Report by War on Want

The new demand supporting the green energy transition does not change the act of mining. Extracting minerals, such as lithium, cobalt or copper, is still a dirty business with significant… Read More

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