Sunday, May 19, 2024

Conclusion: An end to business as usual

Chapter 8

An end to business as usual 

‘Since the 1990s, in line with the recommendations of the Washington Consensus, Latin American governments have … reinforced and expanded an economic model based on the extraction of primary commodities for export. Mining, of course, is only one part of a much bigger picture. During this period, hydrocarbon extraction, agribusiness, electricity generation (including renewables, such as hydroelectric plants and windfarms), major works of infrastructure, and tourist developments, have all brought about extraordinary and unprecedented changes in the geography of Latin America. The most alarming consequence of this is the ongoing and accelerating destruction of the Amazon, a ten-million-year-old forest of which, in little over half a century, nearly a fifth has been destroyed.’

‘They [the industry] themselves recognize that one of their biggest problems is obtaining this social licence; it’s becoming increasingly difficult. As mining expands, so does conflict, and so does rejection of the industry. And we believe this trend is only going to increase in the coming years.’

– Cesar Padilla, of the Latin American Observatory of Mining Conflicts (OCMAL)

‘I think the rights of nature have enormous potential. Enormous and completely transformative for our societies … Especially in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss, and elimination of ecosystems in which we find ourselves, understanding the rights of nature as a limit on human societies is hugely important.’

– David Fajardo Torres, Ecuadorian law student and environmental activist with the groups Yasunidos and the People’s Council for the Water of Cuenca

Protestors stand together at the Rio Jáchal, San Juan, Argentina / © Oscar Martinez 2019

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