Global environmental challenges
Clashes in the Amazon between indigenous protestors and Peru’s army that killed some 60 people last week throw some old issues into sharp new relief: development versus the environment and local versus foreign control of natural resources.
Indigenous tribes, worried they will lose control over natural resources, have protested since April seeking to force Peru’s Congress to repeal new laws that encourage foreign mining and energy companies to invest billions of dollars in huge tracts of pristine rain forest.
In the developing world, extractive industries have a bad record of bringing benefits to local people. Prime examples include the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria and mineral-rich South Africa under apartheid.
Equally bad is their record on the environment. The despoiled Niger Delta also springs immediately to mind (and it is probably no coincidence that it has also been wracked by conflict and insurgency).