…aren’t they the good guys?
How displacing local communities facilitates
subsequent extraction and pollution
The displacement of indigenous peoples and the alliance with polluting industries are connected, because the evictions of local people come together with or before industrial projects. Often zoning initiatives carve up existing ecosystems into areas for logging, mining and conservation through the same process, kicking communities out of both, as was the case in Rwanda.
Source: Hoare, “Integrating local peoples’ land-use practices in forest management in the Congo Basin.”
Once communities are removed from national parks, this completely transfers the control over the area to the government, which can later decide to pollute the area without any opposition by local traditional communities who depend on that ecosystem. Nairobi national park was cleared and created by the UK colonial government, and recently a highway and a railway, as well as hotels were built there. Virunga National park in the DRC was also created by the colonial government removing Indigenous peoples. But today the government approved to drill for oil in that park. Salonga National park, where a park run by WWF was the site of severe abuses by eco-guards, has also been earmarked by the government for drilling for oil.
Sources: – Inogwabini, B.I. (2014).
“Conserving biodiversity in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
a brief history, current trends and insights for the future”.
Parks. 20 (2): 101−110. doi:10.2305/iucn.ch.2014.parks-20-2.bi.en.
– The Independent – WWF
In conclusion, the WWF, like many big fortress conservation agencies, is helping big companies to expand while harming local sustainable communities. Instead, they should be supporting indigenous peoples and local communities while opposing and resisting industry. Together, we must force them to change.