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Environmental Conflict and the Media

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Edited By Libby Lester and Brett Hutchins

Has the hype associated with the «revolutionary» potential of the World Wide Web and digital media for environmental activism been muted by the past two decades of lived experience? What are the empirical realities of the prevailing media landscape?
Using a range of related disciplinary perspectives, the contributors to this book analyze and explain the complicated relationship between environmental conflict and the media. They shine light on why media are central to historical and contemporary conceptions of power and politics in the context of local, national and global issues and outline the emerging mixture of innovation and reliance on established strategies in environmental campaigns.
With cases drawn from different sections of the globe – Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, Africa – the book demonstrates how conflicts emanate from and flow across multiple sites, regions and media platforms and examines the role of the media in helping to structure collective discussion, debate and decision-making.
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7 Contesting Extractivism: Media and Environmental Citizenship in Latin America: Silvio Waisbord

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Since the rise of European colonialism, Latin America has been a major global source of natural resources. The voracious push for natural commodities resulted in the predatory exploitation of minerals such as gold, silver, tin, copper, and other resources over the centuries. The region’s history cannot be understood outside the evolution of the extractive economy. The complex development of the extractive industries shaped political, economic, and social structures, particularly in the Andean countries (Chile, Bolivia and Peru). Aside from a legacy of violence and social exclusion, large-scale exploitation left untold environmental destruction.

This historical pattern of intensive exploitation of natural resources and environmental degradation continues, as Latin America remains a prime destination for extractive industries. During the past two decades, global demand for extractive goods, particularly metallic and non-metallic minerals, have led to a remarkable expansion of mining, oil and gas drilling, and forestry across the region. In 2011 the continent attracted 28 percent of total global mining investments and was the target of more large projects (above $1 billion) than any other region in the world (Ericsson and Larsson, 2012). The production of minerals such as gold and silver reached unprecedented volumes in the past decade. The export of extractive commodities is a significant percentage of the total of export earnings. In Peru, for example, mining exports totaled 59 percent of the country’s foreign earnings (U.S.A. Department of Commerce, 2010). ← 105 | 106 →

This recent boom has been the result of the combination of three main...

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