'Our Land, Our Nature'. The conservation industry has a dark side rooted in racism and colonialism that destroys nature and people.

‘Our Land, Our Nature’. The conservation industry has a dark side rooted in racism and colonialism that destroys nature and people.
© Survival

The world’s first major international congress on decolonizing conservation, “Our Land, Our Nature”, will take place in Marseille, France, on September 2, 2021, immediately before the IUCN World Conservation Congress in the same city.

At this congress indigenous representatives and speakers from around 18 countries will share evidence and first-hand testimonies of conservation atrocities and land theft, and will present a model for an alternative conservation.

‘Our Land, Our Nature’, supported by Minority Rights Group, Rainforest Foundation UK, and Survival International among others, will highlight the global opposition to attempts by governments, industry and big conservation NGOs to turn 30 per cent of the globe into “Protected Areas” (“30x30”). It will also challenge the idea of “Nature-Based Solutions” (NBS) which put a price on the value of nature and offer a false solution to combating climate change.

These Khadia men were thrown off their land after it was turned into a tiger reserve. They lived for months under plastic sheets. Millions more face this fate if the 30% plan goes ahead.

These Khadia men were thrown off their land after it was turned into a tiger reserve. They lived for months under plastic sheets. Millions more face this fate if the 30% plan goes ahead.
© Survival International

Caroline Pearce, Executive Director of Survival International, said today: “The 30×30 and NBS narratives are a #BigGreenLie. Protected Areas do not provide a solution to the climate crisis, biodiversity loss or pandemics, and have already stripped millions of people of their sustainable livelihoods, lands and lives. The 30×30 project is likely to harm hundreds of millions more people, including indigenous peoples whose voices are silenced in the conservation industry.”

‘Our Land, Our Nature’ will break this silence and give a platform (in person or via video link) to local leaders, indigenous activists and other academics and scientists from every continent. It will challenge the World Conservation Congress to abandon 30×30 and NBS in favor of approaches that put people and social justice at the center of conservation.

“Our land, our nature” will be streamed worldwide. It will be opened by Fiore Longo, head of Survival’s conservation campaign, who said today: “The best guardians of the natural world are indigenous peoples, whose territories now contain some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. But they are the ones kicked off these lands by an increasingly militarized conservation industry, which partners with corporate interests who are sacking the Earth for profit. The 30% plan represents the biggest land grab in history, it is fundamentally colonialist and racist, and it must be stopped.”

NOTES:
“Our land, our nature”– September 2-3 2021 – Coco Velten, 16 rue Bernard du Bois, Marseille. Online participation will also be possible. Register here: www.ourlandournature.org/
The congress will be followed by a press conference September 3 2021, 10:00-11:00. You can register for the press conference here: www.ourlandournature.org/press

Speakers will include:
Mordecai Ogada, Kenyan conservationist and author of “The Big Conservation Lie”, who will explain the subterfuge behind so-called “community conservancies”.
Pranab Doley and Birendra Mahato, Indigenous activists from Kaziranga National Park in India and Chitwan National Park in Nepal, who will expose the atrocities behind conservation in their lands.
John Vidal, former environment editor at the Guardian, United Kingdom.
• Lottie Cunningham Wren, Indigenous human rights advocate from Nicaragua, and winner of the Right Livelihood award 2020.
Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Tebtebba and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Philippines.
Blaise Mudodosi Muhigwa, Congolese lawyer and environmental jurist.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, USA, Lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues.
Archana Soreng, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, India.