Justice, Conservation and the protected areas establishment frenzy
“A theory, however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue. Likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust” John Rawls, A Theory of Justice.
Nov 03, 2015
Why is ‘Just Conservation’ only about people?
'The Just Conservation' site exists to promote debate, raise awareness, promote connection and facilitate action. As such it means we publish a wide variety of views, and we do not necessarily agree with all of them. Recently two controversial academic authors, Helen Kopina and Elle Ouimet, have published a paper in which they asserted that critics of conservation are 'opposed to conservation' (Please note below for the link). We disagree with that characterisation. Conservation is a broad church and we would call ourselves conservationists because we are critical friends of many aspects of it. But that's just our view! We invited these authors to put their perspective forward in a form suitable for this site, and in particular to explain why it might be problematic to 'oppose' (be critical of) conservation. The result, if you accept their arguments, suggests an entirely new way in which 'just conservation' should be approached. As ever, comments are welcome.
Oct 07, 2015
War by Conservation
Ivory does not fund Al Shabaab, so why was that message so readily promoted?
Since 2013 several wildlife conservation organisations have promoted the message that ivory is used to fund terrorism, that it is the ‘white gold of jihad’. While allegations about poaching by Janjaweed and Lord’s Resistance Army have circulated for some time, it was the claim that ivory provided up to 40% of Al Shabaab’s funding that caught international attention. This claim is hotly disputed, and even Elephant Action League, who spread the message in the first place, have started to accept it might have been an over estimation (at best). So why was it so readily taken up and repeated in the media, social media, by world leaders, by conservation NGOs and by international organisations? The answer lies in a potent mix of strategic interests and the need to grab international attention to raise funds for conservation.
Sep 25, 2015
Can Indigenous and Wildlife Conservationists Work Together?
Indigenous and wildlife conservationists have common goals and common adversaries, but seem to be struggling to find common ground in the fight for sustainable forests.
The forest lifestyle of the Baka people of Cameroon helps provide improved habitats for wild animals. When the Baka clear a patch for a camp, the clearing later turns into secondary forest that gorillas prefer, Mike Hurran, Survival International Africa campaigner, told IPS.
Mar 05, 2015
Indigenous Peoples destroyed for misguided 'conservation'
A pesentation by Gordon Bennett and colleagues at the 'Beyond Enforcement: Communities, governance, incentives and sustainable use in combating wildlife crime' conference, 26-28th February at Glenburn Lodge, Muldersdrift, South Africa.
As we celebrate 'World Wildlife Day' today, there's little for nature's best defenders to be glad of, says human rights lawyer Gordon Bennett. Indigenous Peoples around the world are routinely attacked, starved and cut off from the lands and wildlife they have protected for millennia under a flawed and brutal model of 'conservation'.
Mar 03, 2015
Compassionate Conservation: More than "Welfarism Gone Wild"
Conservation is ethically challenged
The evolving field called compassionate conservation, in which the guiding principle "First do no harm" stresses the importance of individual nonhuman animals (animals), is gaining increasing global attention because almost animals need considerably more protection than they are currently receiving and many people, including researchers, can no longer justify or stomach harming and killing animals "in the name of conservation." It builds on an agenda that calls for "doing science while respecting animals" and for protecting animals because they are intrinsically valuable, and do not only have instrumental value because of what they can do for us.
Feb 10, 2015
Indigenous people and the crisis over land and resources
Do indigenous groups need saving from poverty? And why do they come into conflict with conservationists seeking to protect their land?
As governments agree to bring indigenous peoples into the global family of rights holders, the death of Edwin Chota and his colleagues in Peru highlights the continuing gap between rhetoric and reality in the struggle between resource miners and conservationists. A struggle that continues to leave the ancient stewards of the land being fought over on the margins of the conflict.
Sep 24, 2014
Biocultural community protocols and the future of conservation
To appreciate the momentousness of the Khoe protocol, it would be important to put it in the context of the larger law and policy debates around biodiversity conservation and community rights.
Sep 09, 2014