Resource extractivism, health and climate change in small islands

The extraction of natural resources has long been part of economic development in small islands. The damage to environment and health is extensive, even rendering once productive islands virtually uninhabitable. Rather than providing long-term benefits to the population or to the environment, the culture of “extractivism” – a nonreciprocal approach where resources are removed and used with little care or regard to consequences – has instead left many in far more fragile circumstances, increasingly dependent on external income. The purpose of this paper is to show how continued extractivism in small islands is contributing to global climate change and increasing climate risks to the local communities.