The need to preserve the environment has become one of the major concerns for modern societies. Currently, many public organizations implement projects that are supposed to preserve forests and wildlife; nevertheless, many of the existing practices and policies can infringe on the interests of people who live in the areas which may be transformed into conservation parks.
For instance, these individuals can be sometimes forcefully evicted. One can argue that this problem can be related to ecological conciseness, justice, and science. Moreover, this issue requires the cooperation of researchers, lawyers, as well as journalists. Overall, it is important to design policies that can reconcile the interests of different stakeholders.
In particular, public administrators and environmental agencies should pay more attention to the economic needs of vulnerable communities; furthermore, they should have an opportunity to use the lands on which they have lived for many years. The interests of these stakeholders must be considered by governmental and non-governmental organizations. These are the main questions that should be examined in greater detail.
The rise of environmental consciousness
On the whole, researchers attach importance to such a concept as environmental consciousness. In particular, people should bear in mind that they are a part of the planet; more importantly, their survival can depend on the preservation of the environment (Uhl, 2013). For instance, one can mention Christopher Uhl (2013) who lays stress on the idea that people should pay more attention to the impact of their activities on various elements of nature such as water, air, fauna, flora, and so forth (Uhl, 2013).
Thus, one should speak about a very important shift in the public opinion. Additionally, scientists are able to identify the locations in which there are many endangered species (Myers et al., 2000). For instance, one can speak about such regions as Tropical Andes, Central Chile, Mesoamerica, and Philippines (Myers et al., 2000, p. 857). Additionally, scientists should determine what uses of land can be compatible with the preservation of species.
In many cases, their assessment can be critical for resolving the conflicts between various stakeholders such as local communities, businesses, and governmental agencies. Furthermore, researchers should not overlook long-lasting economic implications of these policies, especially their impact on the welfare of various communities. Thus, scientists can play a pivotal role in reconciling the needs of different stakeholders.
The challenges associated with the conservation of lands
One should keep in mind that the preservation of the environment can also create several important challenges. For instance, it is possible to mention the arguments put forward by Mac Chapin (2004). He states that the organizations promoting the establishment of protected natural areas can often disregard the interest of indigenous people who have lived on these lands for many generations (Chapin, 2004, p. 18).
For instance, these agencies are not willing to assist indigenous people at the time when they need to struggle against logging, oil, and mining companies (Chapin, 2004, p. 21). Additionally, they do not pay attention to the idea that the exclusion of indigenous people from conservation areas can threaten their economic and social welfare in the long term (Chapin, 2004, p. 27). This example demonstrates that environmental protection can be wrought with injustice.
This is one of the problems that should be considered. Mac Chapin’s criticism has attracted the attention of many environmental agencies that can have conflicting attitudes towards the arguments of this author. For instance, the representatives of conservation organizations may believe that the forests owned by indigenous people can be eventually used for logging. Moreover, they are not willing to consider the idea that indigenous people are able to take proper care of the lands where they have lived for a long time (World Watch Institute, 2005).
Nevertheless, environmental scientists believe that these misgivings are largely unjustified (World Watch Institute, 2005). Moreover, they can simply be biased against indigenous communities (World Watch Institute, 2005). This is one of the details that policy-makers should not disregard.
Land-grabbing and its challenges
Overall, these policies have given rise to such a term as green land grabbing (Allan, 2012). This term is used to describe the acquisition of land that should be used as conservation parks. The main problem is that the residents of such areas are often excluded from the negotiation process. Thus, it is important to develop legal safeguards that can ensure that the economic interests of these people are not neglected.
Admittedly, one should not suppose that environmental organizations always disregard the interests of local communities. Some of them do attempt to empower these communities, especially when they need to resolve disputes with various corporations. Nevertheless, more attention should be paid to forceful evictions since they often give rise to many controversies.
It should be mentioned that environmental injustice has sparked protests throughout the world. For instance, such a movement as Via Campesina strives to support the communities that are dependent on sustainable agriculture. If many of their lands are turned into conservation areas, they can be brought to the brink of poverty. Overall, these communities have often been marginalized by various organizations.
In this case, much attention should be paid to corporations that try to gain control of the land that can be used for different purposes. The main problem is that sometimes environmental agencies can disregard the interests of these communities. Furthermore, it is possible to mention the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. This military group also strives to support rural and indigenous communities. Moreover, it is vehemently opposed to the practices of leading companies.
These examples indicate that many current policies can be questioned from an ethical viewpoint. Sometimes, they can even result in violent protests that can impair the development of the society. Therefore, these problems can have significant social implications.
Conflicting needs of indigenous people
One should keep in mind that many rural communities now have to resolve considerable dilemmas that have been illustrated in the documentary film Milking the Rhino directed and produced by David Simpson (2009). To some degree, they want to attract tourists, and they may use their lands as game reserves (Simpson, 2009).
However, at the same time, they face the dangers of droughts (Simpson, 2009). Moreover, they need get access to lands in order to ensure their food security. The problem is that many families are not able to influence the decisions of policy-makers (Simpson, 2009). This is one of the details that should be considered by various stakeholders such as legislators and businesses.
While discussing these issues, one should pay attention to a wide range of questions. First, it is important to consider the need to preserve various plants and species. Moreover, the preservation of forests can be important for reducing the effects of global warming. Additionally, at the same time, one should not overlook the necessity for the public uses of land. Nevertheless, the needs of local communities should be regarded as the topmost priority.
It is critical to remember about significant political and economic inequalities. In many cases, they are not able to protect their interests in the court or mount protests. Moreover, much attention should be paid to the use of eminent domain or forceful appropriation of land. Certainly, in some cases, the government may have to use this method in order to bring improvements into the life of the community.
Nevertheless, this practice should only be the last resort. In many cases, it is important to seek alternatives to this practice. For instance, one can implement regulations regarding the use of lands that are of great environmental value. For instance, logging can be prohibited. This is one of the principles that can be identified.
On the whole, this discussion indicates that is necessary to design more inclusive policies that can include the needs of indigenous and low-income people who can be marginalized by the existing policies. The examples discussed in this paper show that the interests of these communities are often disregarded. Moreover, it is vital to design more inclusive policies that safeguard the economic livelihood of people whose lands can be acquired by the government.
Additionally, the use of forceful evictions and eminent domain should be reduced to the minimum. As a rule, this policy is not very effective and it can adversely affect many people who have fewer resources for protecting interests in the court. These are the main details that can be distinguished.
Allan, J. (2012). Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa: Foreign direct investment and food and water security. New York, NY: Routledge.
Chapin, M. (2004). A Challenge to Conservationists. New York, NY: World Watch Institute.
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R., Mittermeier, C., Fonseca, G., & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403(111), 853-858.
Simpson, D. (Executive Producer). (2009). Milking the Rhino. [DVD]. Chicago, IL Kartemquin Films.
Uhl, C. (2013). Developing Ecological Consciousness: The End of Separation. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.
World Watch Institute. (2005). From Readers. New York, NY: World Watch Institute.