Extractive industries are responsible for many of the raw ingredients in what we consume. We extract energy products like oil and coal, and also the contents of bottled water, paper products, and jewelry. Often when we buy something though, we know very little about what goes in to making it.
What is it made of? Who extracted the materials? Who made the component parts, and who assembled them? How did it get to the store? What will happen to it when it’s thrown out?
The things we consume often come with a backstory of waste, corruption, and exploitation – a backstory that involves extractive industries. Most of us know that this sounds generally true, but it is difficult to piece together the bigger picture to know what’s really going on.
To help piece together this bigger picture, we encourage you to watch The Story of Stuff. It’s free, short, and a good introduction to the issue.