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

29th March 2021

Uganda recognises rights of Nature, customary laws, sacred natural sites

With our Ugandan partners ANARDE and Africe, we are delighted to share new developments in our work to protect Nature, revive culture and pursue the decolonisation of law alongside the… Read More

18th March 2021

In the balance: Gaia’s equinox update

18th March 2021 Gaia’s Director, Liz Hosken, shares an Equinox message and puts the spotlight on the incredible work of our global partners from Africa to the Arctic in the… Read More

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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We live in a time of multiple, complex crises. There are no easy answers. Working to uphold the health and diversity of our living planet is always rewarding, but we think you’ll agree it can sometimes feel like swimming against the stream. And yet like salmon we leap, and more often than you might expect, we make it. We invite you to make the next leap with us by making a donation of any size. Thank you for your solidarity.