Extractivism

Strip Mining with Dragline Equipment at the Navajo Mine in Northern Arizona 06/1972
Here I am seated on my couch with a blocked right ear and a red raw nose, trying to avoid unnecessary thoughts of Lemsip, a victim of the first head cold of 2014.

I would quite like to be at church this morning as we are having our annual harvest service which is usually one of my favourite services of the church calender.
We have so much to be thankful for!
It’s an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for our daily bread and to say sorry for the way we take so much for granted, especially for the way we take the gift of God’s provision for granted and the way we abuse creation with violence and greed.

I came across a new term yesterday, ‘extractivism’ in Naomi Klein’s latest book:-

‘Extractivism is a nonreciprocal, dominance-based relationship with the earth, one purely of taking. It is the opposite of stewardship, which involves taking but also taking care that regeneration and future life continue…It is the reduction of life into objects for the use of others, giving them no integrity or value of their own – turning living complex ecosystems into “natural resources,”…It is also the reduction of human beings either into labour to be brutally extracted, pushed beyond limits, or , alternatively, into social burden, problems to be locked out at borders and locked away in prisons or reservations. In an extractivist economy, the interconnections among these various objectified components of life are ignored; the consequences of severing them are of no concern.
Extractivism is also directly connected to the notion of sacrifice zones- places that, to their extractors, somehow don’t count and therefore can be poisoned , drained, or otherwise destroyed, for the supposed greater good of economic progress’

This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein

That passage gets close to what I personally might hate most about modern life, the way that our intimate link to the natural world has been severed and obscured, the way that our worship of economic growth at any cost means that we treat the whole of creation (animals, birds, plants, minerals, lakes, oceans, sky, soil, trees etc and of course humans) as a commodities and mere objects to be exploited and abused in some race for survival that has us acting violently to each other and the world around us.

It’s the way that nations or corporations compete to exploit the planet for monetary gain in the here and now. The way they leave the tax payer to foot the bill for dealing with the effects of their pollution.

It’s the way that we treat chickens or salmon like non creatures but units to be marketed and farmed as cheaply as possible.
The way that companies pay employees only to work in a shop from 1-9pm knowing that they’ll not get finished up with putting people through the tills until 9.15pm. It’s squeezing that extra weeks work a year for free from a part time employee.

It’s the way that if we’re applying for jobs the other people who might need that job just as much as us is someone we have to compete to show ourselves as more capable human being. In fact, we tend not to even think about them.
The way that if we’re applying for courses we have to prove ourselves to be more capable that the other people. The way that we’re forced to do that sort of thing just to survive and pay the bills.

I know that this morning in church the lady from Tearfund is speaking about human trafficking. It is estimated that a child is trafficked every 30 seconds. We treat humans as commodities or raw materials to build the world we want.
My friends in the asylum hostels in Galway are not commodities as well.

The list could go on for a long time…

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