Hitting extractives companies where it hurts – their bottom-lines – holding governments accountable and innovating alternatives to extractivism, courageous communities standing up in defence of life are confronting the nexus of power that is enabling the plunder Mother Earth. In fact, grassroots resistance processes led by frontline communities are one of the most effective ways to stop destructive projects.
Research shows that better-networked grassroots-led resistance processes are more likely to succeed. As communities connect with other allies at local, regional and international levels, they also exchange knowledge and help new approaches to tackling the root causes of extractivism to emerge and gain prominence.
Network-building efforts are therefore a crucial strategy for supporting communities opposing extractive projects.
The Yes to Life, No to Mining (YLNM) global solidarity network aims to play this connecting role, supporting communities and organisations rejecting extractive projects to unite, support one another in solidarity and explore regenerative alternatives to extractivism at multiple scales.
The idea for YLNM was conceived in 2012 by a group of individuals, organisations and networks from Africa, Europe, North and Latin America, in recognition that those communities saying ‘No’ to extractivism require specific and urgent support and solidarity.
The network is founded upon a fundamental recognition that extractivism reproduces social injustice, ecological destruction and climate change on a vast scale; a scale that Earth cannot sustain, and that frontline communities should not have to endure.
In this scenario, saying ‘No’ to mining is not a negative, ‘anti-development’ response. Saying ‘No’ to mining, as a localised practice and a global phenomenon, means saying ‘Yes’ to life; to healthier ecosystems; to existing, truly sustainable livelihoods; to emerging alternatives to extractivism and the planet-wrecking growth economy that it feeds.
As part of the founding group, Gaia has played a role in nurturing the network so far, helping build at web platform, launched in 2014, offering small grants to cover start-up costs and supporting the network’s coordination.
Since then YLNM has grown organically to become a network of over 60 community-based organisations, NGOs and networks, with representation from every inhabited continent.
A steering group of nine regional coordinators now guides the network’s day-to-day work, which focuses on research, educational materials, community and online exchanges and supporting campaigns and direct actions.
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.