Field of Science

Nature Minus Humans?

From the "nothing is quite so simple" department, a Boston Globe article this week points out a hidden legacy of the conservation movement: The expulsion of native peoples from their land.

Starting with Yosemite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the pattern of forcing indigineous civilizations from their ancestral land in order to create wildlife reserves and national parks has been repeated across the country and the world.

The conflict is... compelling the conservation movement to grapple with the effects of its own century-long blunder, and with its origins as an American movement driven largely by nature romantics and aristocratic men determined to protect their hunting grounds. Not only has it dispossessed millions of people who might very well have been excellent stewards of the land, but it has engendered a worldwide hostility toward the whole idea of wildland conservation - damaging the cause in many countries whose crucial wildland is most in need of protection.
The article describes how indigineous peoples threatened with displacement across the globe have begun to band together to force a change in the conservationist mindset that humanity and nature are antithetical.

Reporting like this is why the Boston Globe needs to stay in business.