Publication
Title
Ecological and social justice should proceed hand-in-hand in conservation
Author
Abstract
We highlight the need for ecological justice and ecological ethics to go hand in hand with social justice in conservation science. We focus on the importance of ecocentric (non-anthropocentric) worldviews for advancing both social and ecological justice. While acknowledging the need to “decolonize” conservation, we question whether conservation a whole may be justifiably termed “colonial”; noting that colonialism in the name of profit and political power has long been a main driver of both human rights abuses and biodiversity loss. Moreover, modern conservation science explicitly strives for social justice and equity while protecting biological diversity and thus ought not to be conflated with colonialism's long and unjust history. We suggest that efforts to portray modern conservation science as patriarchal, racist, and colonial are shortsighted, disregarding longstanding efforts by conservationists to reconcile social and ecological values. Such critiques may adopt a patronizing approach to Indigenous and local peoples, portraying them as idealized guardians. Such views may obscure the complex socio-economic conditions that leave indigenous and local communities vulnerable to resource exploitation; these factors must be understood if these groups are to fulfil their vital role as conservation allies. We conclude that the conservation community should shift focus toward targeting the main political actors and economic structures that oppress both humans and non-humans alike. A more nuanced appreciation of the shared history of colonialism and conservation may illuminate how social and ecological values converge in the mission of sustaining the ecological life support system on which every human and non-human being depends.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Biological conservation. - Liverpool
Publication
Liverpool : 2024
ISSN
0006-3207
DOI
10.1016/J.BIOCON.2024.110456
Volume/pages
290 (2024) , p. 1-7
Article Reference
110456
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Record
Identifier
Creation 23.01.2024
Last edited 24.01.2024
To cite this reference