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Local regulations and examples of non-extraction

Throughout the world people are calling for the non-extraction of resources. The reasons are manifold with water and land issues often cited. Impacts to our climate and on biodiversity are not always part of the argument but from a global perspective are also of great relevance. 

There are many examples where local populations have pushed for no go zones due to high levels of risk to their livelihoods and the ecosystem, and there are equally many examples of initiatives fighting for non-extraction in certain territories and laws exist to protect their rights.

The report from Ejolt1 provides several examples "from the Ogoni to the Ijaw in Nigeria [...] the Raizals in San Andres and Providencia, [...] the Mosetens and Tsimane in Bolivia, [...] the inhabitants of Madagascar, Ghana, South Africa, Europe, and Quebec complaining against tar sands and shale gas extraction, [...] the government of the Canary Islands and the fishermen of the Lofoten islands against offshore oil, the peoples assert their right to decide what happens in their territories" (Temper et al., 2013, p. 176). And there are many more.

As Temper et al. put it "the recognition of the right of self-determination is primarily to reverse the historical legacy of environmental injustice experienced by local and sometimes cruelly mistreated communities"1. This process can be seen as a form of Yasunisation.

"According to the definition submitted to the Real  Academia  de  la  Lengua,  the  term  ‘Yasunize’  describes  demands  from society  for  the  protection  of  territories  with  great  natural  or  cultural  diversity against  activities  with  serious  environmental  impacts  such  as  oil  and  gas extraction, open cast mining, and other mega-projects [...] To Yasunize  entails  the  necessity  of  conserving  nature  and community ways of life, placing Buen Vivir higher than Development in the scale of values, protecting human rights and the rights of nature.  If Yasuní means sacred earth, then to Yasunize is to protect the sacred earth"1.

Below, you find a range of examples and steps towards the vision of a post-fossil fuel society in relation to extraction.This is only a start and there are far more examples to be found. Please share them with us!


Land use planning and no go zones

In response to high levels of land concessioning in the region, huge environmental impacts from previous mines and strong protests against new operations the regional government started to implement participatory land use processes in Peru. Particularly in areas generating water resources it gives back some power to local communities to decide which economic activity they want to pursue. There are still weaknesses in the process, and it might not be resistant to manipulation, but this process returns power to the regional and local levels. A process that deserves further analysis. 

See more here https://www.facebook.com/PlataformaOT

This processes can be seen in different places and in a number of areas where the aim of many communities is to establish no-go zones. In this context a campaign was launched under the headline "Mining in paradise?"

New Mexico bans fracking

New Mexico county first in nation to ban fracking to safeguard water

In acting to protect their water supply, the 5,000 residents of the poor, conservative Mora County made it the first in the U.S. to ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing for oil). Read more about this case
Movement for a mining ban in El Salvador

“In a country that is already experiencing a clean water crisis like El Salvador, there are even more risks associated with mining,” said Ivan Morales, El Salvador Country Director for Oxfam. “It’s important that El Salvador protects the drinking water and health of its people from the environmental impacts of mining. The support from members of Congress for the Salvadoran government is crucial.”

Read more about the alliance that supports Salvadoran people in their demand for sovereignty, the right to water and healthy communities.


Wirikuta, Mexico: The Huichol people vs. First Majestic mining company

Wirikuta is a sacred site of the Wixarrica Huichol Indians in the mountains of central Mexico. The Huichol indigenous group have struggled to maintain their land against the threat of a proposed mining site from Canadian mining company First Majestic to drill for silver and other metals. Wirikuta is a sacred site of great importance in Mexico and the world, and has been recognised as a tentative UNESCO world heritage site. Although the indigenous people and environmental community were strongly opposed to the plans, many in the local community welcomed the prospect of jobs promised by the Canadian company, in an area with very poor livelihood options. However, as Boni et al. (2015) argue, what is obscured by the language of sustainable mining and social responsibility, is the fact that First Majestic’s sole purpose is to deliver sustained share value to its shareholders. 

The Huichols and environmental activists across Mexico and the world, mobilised to stop the project. They organised a music festival - Wirikuta Fest - with 60,000 attendees, the proceeds of which were used to fund ecological and sustainable livelihood projects in Wirikuta. The campaign was successful and First Majestic withdrew their plans, while the Huichol community continue to defend their sacred territory from further threats. 


Boni, A., Garibay, C. & McCall, M.K. (2015) Sustainable mining, indigenous rights and conservation: conflict and discourse in Wirikuta/Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, GeoJournal 80: 759. 

Huicholes: Los Últimos Guardianes del Peyote / The Last Peyote Guardians (multi-subs) from Kabopro Films on Vimeo.



[1]  Temper, L. et al (2013), “Towards a Post-Oil Civilization. Yasunization and other initiatives to leave fossil fuels under the soil”, Ejolt report, No. 6, 204 p.