CAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT BE GOOD
As the world economy continues to expand, demand for energy and other natural resources is
increasing. Reserves of some resources are becoming more difficult to replace. Natural resource
industries are increasingly interested in new sources of supply in non-traditional yet politically
stable regions such as the Arctic. This is not necessarily good news for Arctic communities. Past
experience has showed that many Arctic communities have benefited little from resource
exploitation. Indeed, a large number of northern communities have experienced enormous
social, economic, and environmental challenges over the past half century and these challenges
can be closely linked to impacts of past resource exploitation. Communities are disrupted to
serve the interests of a type of resource development where few jobs go to local peoples and the
arrival and departure of migrant workers creates great social problems. Resource dependence is
seen as one of the most important challenges facing the region.
Chris Southcott is Professor at Lakehead University, Canada. He is also Chair and Research Director of
the ReSDA project.