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The Conservation Revolution: Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond the Anthropocene

Dan Fischer

Member
Perhaps of interest to SCNCC members, I have reviewed a new book from Verso titled The Conservation Revolution: Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond the Anthropocene.
Protecting Nature in a Conservation Revolution - New Politics
I'd be curious what people think of the book, of the review, and of the book's proposed "convivial conservation." You can learn more from the authors' website here:
Convivial Conservation

Here are the first two paragraphs of my review:
"In a welcome contribution to discussions of radical green vision, Bram Büscher and Robert Fletcher propose an intriguing concept called 'convivial conservation.' Influenced by scholarship of the degrowth and eco-Marxist movements, the two Wageningen University sociology professors suggest shrinking and redistributing global economic resources and building sustainable landscapes of human-nonhuman cohabitation. Because convivial conservation is such a worthy idea, it’s a shame that Büscher and Fletcher try to attach it to several aspects of the deeply anthropocentric and anti-wilderness 'new conservation' movement. In particular, they make an unconvincing case against a popular proposal to protect at least half of the planet’s surface from intensive impact.
The titular 'Conservation Revolution' could not be more crucial, and not only because of the intersecting ecological and climate breakdowns and nuclear threat that conservationists have so far failed to halt. A need to overhaul conservation is equally evident in last year’s disturbing reports that the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) employs guards who have tortured and killed people at wilderness parks around Africa and Asia. Far from an anomaly, the news pointed to a violent side of the conservation movement that has historically displaced millions of indigenous and rural residents to establish and maintain protected areas. Today, the WWF, Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International have extensive and compromising ties to fossil fuels and other destructive industries, and rely on ineffective market-based instruments, such as carbon offsets, that Büscher and Fletcher aptly call 'fictitious conservation' (23)."
 
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David J

Member
With my limited understanding (having read a couple articles) is appears to be the Cart / Horse dilemma familiar to all who work on climate change. Barring socialist revolution we try to mitigate and find our mitigation delays revolution. I don't find setting aside half the planet's land mass a serious proposal but as I say, I've only skimmed the conservation literature.
 

Dan Fischer

Member
Thanks David. I do not agree that the half-earth proposal isn't serious. But I do agree that justly and adequately implementing it requires an ecosocialist transition. That's why I cited three (at least potentially) ecosocialist half-earth proposals: by Kate Dooley and Doreen Stabinsky, Troy Vettese, and Eileen Crist. In particular, we should be crystal clear that we oppose dispossessing human beings, and that humans can play an important role as protectors in wild areas.

Regarding the half-earth goal's necessity, Büscher and Fletcher themselves quote scientists saying it's necessary "to meet goals for conserving biodiversity" and even to "achieve the stabilization required for our own survival." As I elaborate in my review, I am not convinced by Büscher and Fletcher's rebuttal.

As for its possibility, I argue that using land less wastefully would bring available land for protection well above 50%. For example, almost 40% of land could be freed by eliminating animal agriculture in a hypothetical vegan world. Other current wastes of land include biofuels, growing food that gets thrown away, harvesting wood for single-use products, and (sub)urban sprawl.
 
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