Conservation elitism?

This Mongabay commentary discusses what we might justly call conservation elitism – and the ways in which it actually impedes the advancement of conservation.

The conservation sector must communicate better (commentary) (


maintain the exclusivity and value of the event for those who supported it financially

Ouch! Science, conservation, local people who would be at the front line of actual conservation - or not. No, thank you. Greenwashed trophy hunting?


that sounds like a ridiculous and counterproductive ‘conference’ if not an outright scam. Probably the talks would have accordingly been low quality. It’s frustrating, but this sort of weird burning man for NGOs should just be ignored.


Thanks for sharing, this is an interesting article and it adresses a real issue. But, to be fair, what did they expect from a conference called “Business of Conservation”? The event’s main goal is to " share ideas on how to promote Africa’s wildlife economy and catalyse economic development through nature conservation", so clearly the focus is on business opportunity and not on nature conservation for its own sake. As a conservationist myself I don’t really believe these are the spaces where important ideas or findings are discussed in the first place. It’s by business, for business.

Feel free to call it conservation elitism if you like, but let’s also recognize this exclusivism is in line with the larger tendency in business and academia to limit access to information.


It’s sad, but let’s face it, protecting the environment costs money.

Degrading the environment on the other hand, e.g. cutting trees and selling the wood, poaching for rich collectors, selling the land for mining companies, or even destroying natural habitats to convert them to agriculture (world population is growing as fast as ever (I’m talking real numbers, not % rates that are decreasing but apply to fast rising sums), and faster in most areas with primary habitats, all these degradations of the environment are earning money to the local people… and to more of them than a few guides for tourists who need large areas of preserved habitat to attract a few serious customers.

So we are back to the economy and elitism, who has the most money, who can afford to save the most land by financing environmental projects, etc.

I’m not saying this is fine, it hurts! I’m just trying to highlight some realities, and BTW I don’t think that any polarization and politicization of the debate can help much!

Most ecological groups have been “hijacked” long ago, sometimes in the 1970-1980’s, they would get money as long as they “comply” to some directives, and be silent about some realities!

From the Sierra Club and the WWF who banned any mention of the demographic factor on the environment, to the Wildlife Preservation Trust founded by British naturalist Gerald Durrell, more recently renamed EcoHealth Alliance and experimenting with gain of function viruses… because that’s where the money is - while conservation, otoh, COSTS money!

Based in USA and not much in common with the founder’s ideas now?

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