Slide 1: Probably the major question in Conservation in the future will be whether or not humans can live with nature as part of it.
This question is odd considering that humans have done this for over 100,000 years, and only in the last 300 years has this become an issue
Pre-historic humans impacted every place on earth except Antarctica
Slide 2: The material in this powerpoint is derived mostly from Douglas Dowie 2005. Conservation Refugees, Orion Magazine (Nov/Dec 2005) and Mac Chapin 2004. A Challenge to Conservation. www.worldwatch.org
Slide 3: The big NGOs tried to keep these reports and their results confidential and they were upset when these leaked to the public. Chapin’s article was an effort to make these findings public.
Slide 4: World Wildlife began as an organization to protect endangered wildlife, but has become a corporation
Slide 5: TNC devotes most of its efforts to buying land that it believes is important to conserve. It does not campaign for parks, but creates its own privately owned reserves. TNC has always worked with corporate entities
Slide 6: Conservation International is much less known, but it has become a major player over the last 20 years by taking on disgruntled employees from the TNC and WWF
Slide 7: What goes unrecognized is that these difficulties arose as Indigenous peoples around the world began to assert themselves and demand a voice in the 1990’s. This began around the time of the Colombian quincentennial in 1992 when Indigenous peoples from North and South America began to assert their rights more forcefully
Slide 8: A large part of this difference is rooted in the different ways of perceiving the natural world. Indigenous people want to continue to hunt and fish and take plants in areas that the conservation community wants to believe are pristine and untouched. This emerges from the Western concept of Wilderness as land that is untouched by humans
Slide 9: Indigenous peoples are demanding attention and have become thorns in the sides of many nations, but they have become most prominent in the US, Canada, and Australia, but the biggest conservation conflicts have arisen in Africa and Latin America
Slide 10: As money has become a bigger part of conservation, conservation groups have allied themselves with corporations that are the worst exploiters. As a result, these conservationists have not been critical of damage caused by these exploiters because they don’t want to shut off the cash faucet.
Slide 11: One big issue not even raised by Chapin is that the Western view is basically the same, “We run things, stay out of our way”, regardless of whether the individual speaking is a corporate executive committed to exploitation, or a “conservationist” supposedly committed to preserving and protecting nature
Image is from Chapin 2004
Slide 12: This point came to a head when groups within the BINGOs tried to work effectively with some indigenous peoples, but were sabotaged from above
Slide 13: Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon raised the first big issue when they organized and requested that the BINGOs recognize them and work with them
Slide 14: It has been shown that local people who are determined to preserve their ways of life are the most effective conservators of habitats and ecosystems, but they can also be the biggest problem if they are forced to change their ways of life and become refugees. This is the situation with poaching in Africa
Slide 15: This approach represented ideas that might actually work, but they faced two problems: 1) Indigenous people did not fit into the Western concept of Wilderness, and 2) Working with indigenous people for real conservation would have shut down the corporate money pipeline
Slide 16: For a brief time it looked as if BINGOs might try to work with Indigenous People, but Western is as Western does and neo-colonialist ideas reappeared in the guise of conservation strategies
Slide 17: The quotes come from The IUCN-WWF “Principles and Guidelines on Indigenous and Traditional Peoples and Protected Areas,” formally presented in October 1996
If somewhat patronizing in tone, at least the document spelled out the need for co-management and respect for both indigenous peoples and their knowledge of the environment
Slide 18: The problem was, as it often is, that Europeans, and especially Euro-Americans, felt that they had to be in charge and they often could not, or refused to grasp, differing concepts presented by Indigenous peoples
Slide 19: One important issue, is that, “Is Western science as value free and objective as it claims to be?” Look at Pierotti 2010, Indigenous Knowledge, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology, especially Chapters 4 and 11 for an in depth discussion of this issue
Slide 20: In their discussion of TNC’s Parks in Peril (PiP) program, financed by USAID during the 1990s, Brandon, Redford, and Sanderson repeatedly call community-based conservation approaches “catchy phrases” and “slogans” based on “stereotypes.” These slogans and catchy phrases, they say, mislead by promising that “conflicts over resources can be resolved with relative ease” (Ibid.) and divert us from the true task of protecting biodiversity, which has to be an enterprise based on sound science. Image from Dowie 2005
Slide 21: The New face of Colonialism disguised as conservation. Pictured are Steve Zack, Kent Redford, Joel Berger, Jodi Hilty, and Steve Sanderson, the (white) faces of opposition to Indigenous Peoples. Redford and Sanderson were quoted in previous slide, Berger has done studies that claim to support the idea of Pleistocene Extinctions, even though the results are really the opposite of what he claims (see Pierotti 2010, Chapter 9), which is an illustration of how bias finds its way into supposedly rigorous scientific studies
Slide 22: The Dawes Act Lives: Rather than pay Indigenous people to live sustainably and work to protect the habitats, many whites tried to force indigenous people to do forestry and organic gardening
Slide 23: Although they won’t say it openly, the attitude of many conservationists is that they have the money and they are going to call the shots. They have cordoned off certain areas for conservation, and in their own minds they have a clear idea of what should be done. “They see themselves as scientists doing God’s work,” says one critic, pointing out the conservationists’ sense of “a divine mission to save the Earth.”
This is deeply ironic coming from members of a culture who have caused the destruction to begin with and is why I consider this neo-colonialist in attitude
Slide 24: The BINGOs have been reluctant to support indigenous peoples in their struggles against oil, mining, and logging companies that are destroying vast swaths of rainforest throughout the world. Again, the excuse is that such interventions would be “too political,”
Slide 25: Canada and Australia are better than the US, even though they are far from perfect
Slide 26: Large-scale conservation is basically code for neo-colonial attitudes and working with privates industries, such as mining and oil extraction corporations
Slide 27: Whatever we may think of the science, there is no doubt that the new focus on global conservation is profitable.
Slide 28: Image from Chapin 2004