Tuesday, October 13, 2020

To protect nature, bring down the walls of fortress conservation

The crisis signs could not be clearer: fires, floods, droughts, pandemic, species extinction … Earth is screaming with all its might. We need to listen and act.

We must defend the planet’s life support against relentless corporate greed and rediscover humanity as part of the natural world, for current and future generations...

...Business-as-usual backed by polluted politics is the problem. The same destructive systems that are stripping our forests and oceans of life are killing environmental defenders and pushing people into peril. To reset our relationship with nature, we need systemic change to the way we produce and consume food, energy and natural resources.

At every level of governance – from our local community to the UN biodiversity summit – decisions can aid a green and just recovery from crises, build resilience against future epidemics, and allow people and the planet to thrive. As governments collectively agree on next steps for global nature protection, it is clear we need a better plan.

Protecting at least 30 percent of land and oceans by 2030 can be an important component in planetary recovery. It is an ambitious, measurable target. A global safety net preventing further degradation of critical eco-regions is essential and could halve the extinction risk for species...



So why am I posting this environmental gibberish? Because they do get one important thing right. The authors, two employees of Greenpeace, say the 30 percent land set-a-side will only work:

...if failed conservation models are discarded in favour of a global push to recognise customary land and reinforce people’s rights – this is key if countries are to protect biodiversity, fight inequality and attain their climate goals.

While many of the most effective and highly protected ocean sanctuaries have been championed and won by local coastal communities, the 30×30 target for land has been met with deep concern from environmental and human rights groups and activists: Designed without proper consultation and implemented wrongly, protected areas do not deliver protection but make matters worse for people, endangered species, and the planet. The current draft post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) lacks credible guarantees against such an outcome. Success depends on approaches that both promote justice and protect biodiversity and the GBF must reflect that.

...However, there is a much darker side of conservation that commits human rights violations and outright atrocities in its name. This needs a reckoning as governments set higher targets for protected areas.

So-called “fortress conservation” – which evicts people from land that has been home to Indigenous peoples and local communities for generations – is ethically deeply problematic and has had horrific consequences on the ground. In the Congo Basin and elsewhere, armed eco-guards funded by international donors and organisations have reportedly harassed, abused, raped and murdered local people. These atrocities are not standalone incidents, they are the outcome of a failed conservation model predicated on colonialism that treats marginalised and forest-dependent communities as a threat to wildlife.

This outdated conservation approach must be discarded entirely. It is not a solution to the planetary crisis we are faced with and needs ruling out before governments look for “easy ways” to meet 30×30 targets. This needs to happen fast or there is a very real risk we see a boom in colonial-style conservation that pushes millions of people off their land.

...We will not live in “harmony with nature”, as the Convention on Biological Diversity vision states, if we throw people off their land and make it inaccessible for customary use. 

Well said, and something that needs to be driven home to NM Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, who have spearheaded recent actions to set aside huge protected areas in Dona Ana County and Northern NM and ignored the concerns of "those who have lived close and long" upon the land and who have passed legislation specifically designed to outlaw customary land use. They are forcing this "outdated conservation approach" of "fortress conservation" upon us with a vengeance. And they have done so to increase the profits of the outdoor industry companies and the corporate-like environmental lobby.  This "darker side of conservation" is being foisted on New Mexico on an almost daily basis, and it is nice to see two members of the environmental community bring this to light.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Past experience shows that if you believe anything the dark side of politics says such as the supposed two "environmentalists" then we are in for a screwing. They admit lying for the "cause" is justified and the truth be dammed.