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Tragic consequences of rising resource extraction in Latin America

"Exploiting resources or using resources is something that people have done since the very start. However, in recent decades, the amount of resources used has increased and the related consequences have become more severe. Latin America, in particular, is a focus of this development. Nowhere else has the exploitation of resources increased as drastically in the past two decades and nowhere else have social as well as ecologic conflicts picked up more momentum.

Since the late 1990s, especially in the early 2000s, we have witnessed very high commodity prices on the global markets. Latin American states have taken advantage of this situation and have increased their exploitation of resources accordingly. In consequence, conflicts – and we are talking about real conflicts in which people lose their livelihoods; in which people’s rights are violated – have increased drastically.

The process in which a piece of copper that was extracted in Chile, creating huge environmental disturbances, is processed and is finally used as high performing equipment in the electronics industry includes different steps. Each of these steps generates responsibility, and the use or consumption of the final product (this is how we as private persons are most likely involved in the process) generates responsibility – not guilt, but responsibility – or at least the obligation to think about how this process looks like and what it entails."

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