Conflicts over natural resources are impossible to ignore in our world. We know that the tribespeople of the Amazon have been brutally dispossessed as great swathes of rainforest are destroyed. We understand that a key factor in many of the civil wars which have devastated African communities is the struggle to gain control over supplies of oil, diamonds, and gold. We may even remember that a relentless thirst for natural resources spurred Europe’s colonization of the world, shaping the very boundaries of nation-states in its aftermath. Countries such as Argentina, the Ivory Coast, and the Gold Coast (now Ghana) were even named after the resources to be found (or pillaged) there. Others (including Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, and Gambia) were named for the rivers which sustained local communities....
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