South America has benefited from huge rises in the prices of natural resources in recent years. But exploitation has intensified environmental challenges and led to disputes over ownership of land and land use. As global demand falls, the risks of environmental degradation increases, with new resources being brought on-stream in areas where mining had not previously occurred. The risk of social conflict also increases as governments struggle to raise sufficient income from natural resources to manage external indebtedness and provide social welfare. Argentina, currently experiencing rising inflation and falling revenues, reflects this region-wide problem, which has profound implications for wellbeing, livelihoods, governance and the environment.
This project brings together experts from York, Michigan State University (MSU) (U.S.) and Universidad Di Tella (UTDT) (Argentina) to, first, set out an interdisciplinary agenda of research on extraction, sustainability and citizenship in an era of austerity; second, conduct two pilot studies, one of a new extractive industry (lithium) and the other of soya-bean, an established agricultural commodity cultivated along La Plata River Basin; and third, extend partnerships with civil society partners to explore community responses and ensure that our research reflects the needs of local communities.