Reclaim Conservation: Activists & Communities Vs. Mainstream Conservation Myths

Reclaim Conservation

December 9, 2017

There are myriad definitions of the term “environmental conservation” and hundreds of ideologies and methods being utilised worldwide in an attempt to conserve habitats and biodiversity. At present, what is clear is that conservation efforts as a whole are failing. While there is increasing, large-scale financial investment in conservation efforts worldwide, positive results from this investment remains to be seen. Indeed, the species extinction crisis, destruction of habitat and climate change continue unabated and pose increasingly severe threats to the natural world.

Mainstream conservation institutions are increasingly modelling themselves on, and indeed directly reliant upon, commercial businesses. Being part of the dominant economic establishment positions these NGOs as conflicted in their ability (and desire) to take effective action against the root cause of environmental degradation which unarguably stems from uncontrolled capitalist exploitation, accompanied by corruption, broken nation states and a burgeoning world leadership crisis. These large NGOs cannot challenge these overarching systems of oppression because they have become part of them. By ignoring the “bigger picture” and the real cause of the problems that they claim to be concerned with tackling and offering superficial, insincere solutions, the big NGOs cause severe damage to our world in that they control the vast majority of resources and funding to ostensibly support conservation efforts, but fail to use it where it is most needed and thus fail to create any meaningful change or positive results.

In order to justify their failure, they have developed discourses blaming local people for being either greedy destroyers of nature or ignorant savages who lack the intelligence or motivation to work to preserve their own environment. Nature is being ascribed economic value and local people are being offered financial “compensation” in order to ensure they do not interfere with the work of the powerful NGOs. Grassroots activism and new, radical approaches to conservation are demonised and accused of “getting in the way” of the “real conservationists” (the large NGOs) in order to distract people from seeing activists’ real potential as capable of creating a new reality. Funds are being blocked from reaching either community conservationists or activists, ensuring that the powerful retain control and those uniquely positioned to dismantle the ineffective and damaging status quo are prevented from accessing the resources and opportunities that are required to make real change.

This situation must change, Reclaim Conservation, through activist work with communities, whistle-blowers and law enforcement, through academia, mass and social medias, will prove and inform the public that:

Conservation is activism

Conservation is against corruption

Conservation is against all kinds of discriminations

Conservation is against right wing, capitalist exploitation

Conservation is compassion

If not, conservation will just not work!


  • Yvon A Moreault on Dec 10, 2017

    Right on! I would add that local or small regional or even provincial NGO’s are manipulated and intimidated by ressource industries to a point of insignificance; spending most of their time and efforts to survive by collecting funds and membership.
    The province of New Brunswick,Ca is a typical example where for years NGOs have been trying meakly with insignificant results to influence the management of public forests in the face of a politicaly all powerful forest industry.
    After some thirty five years of complacent control by the provincial departments, abuse of the forests ressources  by overharvesting, eco-system manipulation thru plantations of inappropriate species, large pesticide annual applications etc.  resulting in the degradation of ecosystems, including streams and wildlife habitat.
    The net resullts is the control of public resources to the economic benifice of few forest industries and the  pauperisation of the province and it’s population.
    During all these events, the rights of the First Nations have, for all intents and purpose, been ignored: but beware: a new chapter is opening!

    Yvon A. Moreault, RPF (1963-1997)
    Regional Forester Department of Natural Ressources
    Province of New Brunswick

  • Michelle on Dec 09, 2017

    Agree … though I would add that conservation must also be against left-wing utopian “pristine wilderness” ideology that seeks to create locked up, peopleless national parks & disallow all human use. This approach is a proven failure. Sensible, managed, sustainable utilization of wildlife & forests must be a part of conservation strategy if it is to be successful & sustainable in the long term.
    We must find a balanced middle ground.

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