Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation is a common consequence of using one-size-fits-all conservation strategies.  Before we get to how these policies themselves are causing the depletion of natural resources, here is a short video on some of the ways the environment is degrading and some of the causes.

When large outside organizations arrive in other areas they are more focused on managing the environment in a way that maximizes their profits.  Western organizations believe that their methods for managing the environment are superior to those of indigenous people and that they can be used universally. However, this is not the case. Evidence shows that when small groups of indigenous people manage their environment they are more successful in getting the most out of the environment while not depleting it of its natural resources. Large corporations typically do not know the environment as well and therefore, are more prone to destroying it opposed to protecting it. This causes much conflict between local and global organizations. If organizations would focus more on the local communities and how they think about and interact with the environment then the results of conservation practices would be more successful. It is when outside organizations implement a one-size-fits-all practice for conservation that they fail. Just because a strategy worked for one environment does not mean it will be successful in another.

Before and After Deforestation http://sites.psu.edu/jmandel/2015/02/04/civic-issues-deforestation/

Before and After Deforestation

The demand for products by the western world fuels environmental degradation. If people around the world see the potential for a profit they will destroy the environment in order to gain it. For example, the killing and selling of Great Apes is now a popular business internationally and is causing great degradation of the environment and its wildlife. Another example is in the Ecuadorian Amazon where the company Texaco came in and used the environment as a source for oil and petroleum. This was beneficial to the local economy but they did not consider the local indigenous people and how they interacted with the environment. If they did, they might have discovered that the water the local people were drinking was being contaminated by the oil and causing a range of health consequences.

Follow the links below for more information on environmental degradation.

False Forest History, Complicit Social Analysis Rethinking Some West African Environmental Narratives 

Endangered Forest, Endangered People Environmentalist Representations of Indigenous Knowledge