Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability

First Advisor

Consuelo Fernández-Salvador

Second Advisor

Richard Walz


As climate change continues to intensify on a global scale, efforts have been made to implement renewable energies and progressive technologies. These tools are critical in the shift towards a more sustainable practice, and yet analysis of localized impacts from the development of these mechanisms is inadequate. Chile has been and continues to be a leading country in mineral extraction, with an economic history founded in the mining industry. The establishment of mining in Chile as a progressive tool has aided the social and economic development of the nation. Consequences of mining extraction, however, include intensive environmental degradation, human rights violations, infringement of indigenous peoples’ lands and cultures, growing social and economic disparities and injustices, and contamination. This research addresses and challenges notions of mining in relation to sustainable development and employs interviews and prior published literature on social policy and mining reports to argue that the impact of mining must be enhanced in order for the industry to become more sustainable in future years. These investigations highlight the severity of mining as a form of sustainable development by arguing that mining in the Atacama Desert of Chile has created asymmetrical impacts on social, environmental, and economic functions of the region, particularly for local and indigenous communities. Current Chilean mining industry practices must be revised to ensure a sustainable and positive socio-environmental future for the Chilean people and local ecosystems.


Desert Ecology | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Latin American Languages and Societies | Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability | Water Resource Management


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