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Thread by @am_anatiala: "this is the twitter version of the lecture I gave to an undergraduate wildlife management class, called "Conservation and How Colonialism Fu […]" #bloodparks #s

, 75 tweets, 37 min read
this is the twitter version of the lecture I gave to an undergraduate wildlife management class, called "Conservation and How Colonialism Fucked Everything" (not really).

short version: #bloodparks
I was taught a sanitized version of American wildlife management/conservation. it's only through self-study/listening that I learned any of this. By not acknowledging the violence that occurred in the US w/ regards to wildlife/resources we do our students a disservice #bloodparks
look at the news for a week & you hear plenty of news about how there's a biodiversity crisis. we're losing species at a v high rate. we're in the sixth mass extinction.

we blame proximate causes..."poaching", recent deforestation, but that's not where it started. #bloodparks
if we want to know how we got here, if we want to know the ultimate cause, we need to look back further than a few decades. I'm talking a few centuries. specifically, five. #bloodparks european colonialism which started in the 15th century and ended in the 20th wreaked havoc on indigenous populations, disrupted or destroyed indigenous customes with regards to wildlife and nature, and exploited natural resources at a high rate. this exploitation still occurs today
(this thread is going to be a long one and might take more than an hour to tweet as I'm doing it on the fly which is why I made a hashtag. feel free to pop in and out) #bloodparks
why go back this far, to this point in particular? because basically this is when a new predator (europeans) with new hunting strategies (guns) entered the eco-arena. if you want to look at another example, look back on the pleistocene megafauna extinctions. #bloodparks
"modern" humans were leaving africa, moving into new lands, like the americas, australia, etc. places that had animals that hadn't had to deal with human predation before. that + climate change is believed to have caused extinctions #bloodparks… two papers talking about how climate change and human predation caused the extinction of megafauna (example: mammoths)
if we were back in that time, less than a millennia after that extinction pulse, we wouldn't have to go back too far to see what the catalyst was. it's the same with our current crisis. but this time, it was colonizers that were the catalyst #bloodparks
and for those saying "well it's been so long why are you still on that get over it" here's a pretty basic run-down of why we shouldn't "get over it" #bloodparks

*hides from d*sne*
structure of this thread: i'll be moving through these periods. and since you guys are a captive audience and there's no time limit on my tweeting, i will be musing about the future. #bloodparks pre-colonial/colonial/independence to present day/future
colonization was a violent process. murder, rape, theft, all the biggies. and because the colonizers weren't psychopaths, they had to tell themselves some lies to deal with the hideous trauma that they were perpetrating on other humans. let's look at some. #bloodparks lisa coffee meme with
one group of lies was that the "primitive" people they were coming into contact with weren't managing their resources properly. either they were savages, sure to slaughter and use up everything, or they were "noble", and not "developing" their land #bloodparks
this is really fucking wrong. if these people had lived so long with their land and wildlife and hadn't drove everything to extinction, they had some way of "managing" their resources. it just wasn't the european way. #bloodparks there were beliefs, customs, ways of interacting with nature that indigenous peoples used to manage and coexist with their resources
plenty of native american tribes used controlled burns to manage the lands around them.…

if you're a wildlifer, you probably know that after centuries of european suppression of fire in ecosystems that need it, we're moving back to that again. #bloodparks
next lie and this is where science comes in (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

it's called scientific racism!

this image is from Nott & Giddon's Types of Mankind from 1854 #bloodparks
scientific racism is basically the use of science to say that the different races are biologically different. mainly used by those who's lives are so lacking in pleasure that they have to take solace in the idea of them being "superior" by virtue of their skin color. #bloodparks
i'm sure anthropology remembers the use of calipers to measure skulls & using it to determine social/cultural characteristics. karl vogt, who still has a bust in the front of geneva u, believed whites & blacks were separate species, with the latter descended from apes #bloodparks
i was taught that georges cuvier was the father of paleontology & he was one of the first that suggested that extinction was, you know, a thing. what i *wasn't* taught was that he also influenced the scientific racism field. #bloodparks
Carl Linneaus was the dude who came up with the species naming system we use today. he published systema naturae in 1767 in which he breaks humans down to 5 varieties. asians were "greedy", blacks were "sly", and white people were "inventive"… #bloodparks
scientific racism was used to suggest that indigenous peoples were either inferior to europeans or not people at all. and once you get to the idea of something not being human, it gets really easy to give yourself permission to do whatever you want. #bloodparks galaxy brain meme: they're ignorant savages, they're an inferior race of man, they're not men at all.
finally, there was the idea of terra nullius: no man's land. lynn meskell goes into this well. #bloodparks john locke came up with theidea that the globe was a common possession. this led to colonizers using his idea to justify colonial appropriation. indigenous lands were given to
so white people took what they wished. carved up indigenous land for their own use. the indigenous that tried to use their lands or harvest wildlife were either stopped by fences/patrols or by laws (e.g., needing a really expensive gun to hunt legally) #bloodparks
and then we get into the overexploitation. they (colonizers) cut down forests for farmland, or for timber (shipbuilding used up a lot of wood). they tore up the land mining for precious minerals. and they slaughtered a lot of animals. #bloodparks
the global tiger pop is < 4k

Mahesh Rangarajan, a historian: "over 80k tigers, 150k+ leopards, & 200k wolves were slaughtered [in British India] in the 50 years from 1875-1925. it is possible this was only a fraction of the #s actually slain."… #bloodparks
wildlifers are taught the bison as a conservation success story. we're not taught that the reason they were near extinction in the first place was colonizers trying to destroy this resource that was much-needed by natives.… #bloodparks mountain of buffalo skulls, with the quote: kill every buffalo you can, every buffalo dead is an indian gone
elephants have been in the news recently (more on that later).…

that video starts in the 1900s. go back to the 1800s & you get a better feel of things.

ivory trade has been going on for a looooong time. but not like what colonizers did.

#bloodparks a graph showing elephant populations declining from ~20 million in 1810 to ~1million in 1990ish
so just imagine all of this deforestation, all of these wild animals being killed, all of these natural resources being taken...all over the world. this is WEALTH that is being stolen from the Global South & taken to the Global North. this is how we got "developed" #bloodparks
this rate of exploitation couldn't go on forever. colonizers felt that they needed to set aside these lands and protect the resources. Yellowstone (1872) is US's 1st national park. Bogd Khan mountain (Mongolia) is the 1st legally protected area in the world (1778). #bloodparks
key difference: Bogd Khan was set aside by the *locals* because it was sacred. in the case of Yellowstone, the land was set aside by the colonizers. dozens of tribes used & lived in the area. they were kicked out, after being promised they could still use the area. #bloodparks
this exclusion of the tribes was backed up by the army patrolling the park. which is how you end up with places called "Dead Indian Pass".

(the Nez Perce escaped the army by making it down a canyon with their elderly, women, and children, and a lot of horses)

#bloodparks yellowstone treasures: dead indian pass
this violence happened across the world. australia's 1st national park (royal np) was created soon after with little fuss. little fuss due to the appin massacre--folks shooting into a camp & driving the Dharawal over a cliff--that had happened decades earlier. #bloodparks
let's use tongariro national park in new zealand as an example. the first few websites you find all say that a chief *gifted* the lands to the Crown.

it's the truth, but it's not the truth. and it requires a lot of digging to find the full truth. #bloodparks thor asking: did he though?
what happened was the British defeated the Kīngitanga, which at one point united 2000 Māori chiefs, at the invasion of Waikato in 1864. They set up a Native Lands court, made it illegal for tribes to communally own lands, & made the Māori argue their property rights. #bloodparks
one tribe's chief, Horonoku, learned that volcanoes sacred to them had been leased to the British as places to raise sheep.

an Irish minister suggested he give the lands under the condition that they protect it. he did. shockingly, the British held up their end #bloodparks
I include that as an example because it wasn't always violence that colonizers used to create national parks/protected areas. They also used laws. Sometimes they used the excuse of disease. They had a whole arsenal for land-stealing. #bloodparks virunga extended their boundaries under the guise of helping with sleeping sickness
in 1933 the countries with African colonies gathered to discuss wildlife declines. They decided to define national parks as areas where hunting/destruction of plants was prohibited except for w/ permission from park authorities (or, colonizers)… #bloodparks
in 1962 during the First World Congress on National Parks, we see an emphasis on wildlife as "an inheritance belonging to all the people" and the ideas that international NGOs (non-governmental orgs) help with parks and of nature as a tourist attraction (aka $$$). #bloodparks
with the Stockholm conference in 1972 and the Earth Summit in 1992, we start seeing the schism between the developed/Global North & the developing/Global South. the GN is more worried about the environment. the GS, poverty alleviation/development. #bloodparks
Agenda 21 came out of the Earth Summit & read the GN to filth….

it said that consumption & production (looks at GN) was a problem & that the GN should pony up the $ to help w/ the shit the GS would have to do for the world.

was non-binding tho #bloodparks
during the 1900s it is believed that at least 10-20 mil people were kicked off their lands in the name of conservation. we thought that conservation & people didn't mix (some still do). but w/ the new focus on human rights & development, we needed to change. #bloodparks
we start seeing community-based natural resource management, giving the powers back to the locals. it was & still is being tried. but those in charge (many are intl NGOs) don't want to give up too much power. probably don't trust the locals to keep conservation at #1 #bloodparks
we also start seeing a connection between nature and money. we got studies saying that the things that nature does for us (called ecosystem services) are worth a lot of money. like 33 trillion a year money. #bloodparks the value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital
"making nature pay" became the new thing. we're talking about ecotourism, trophy hunting, REDD+. all of them were touted as win-win situations. they were presented as ways to make locals see that their natural resources were beneficial. 🙄 #bloodparks
of course, they're not all win-win. surprise #bloodparks
ecotourism (tourists w/ $ to spend go to places to see nature) is nice when it works. but it requires tons of things to make it work. you have upfront costs (building signs/hotels/etc.). things need to be politically stable. tourists need to be able to get there #bloodparks
here's an example of what that would look like #bloodparks
here's the video run-down. elephants are causing problems by eating the locals' crops. locals kill elephants. a british charity & the world bank give/loan the locals $ to make a tourist lodge. locals get jobs. tourists see 🐘. #bloodparks
but all that wouldn't have happened if those two international organizations hadn't stepped in. the charity owns 40% of the lodge. and there are only so many service (b/c it is largely service) jobs in one lodge. and then we have the issue of dignity #bloodparks
people are ignorant. we know this. a lot of the tourists want to see *exotic* people when they go to *exotic* locales. locals might be forced to play the part of a grass-skirt wearing native when they typically wear t-shirts & jorts.… #bloodparks
tourists think that since they're paying, they can do what they want. a Manggarai woman (Ursula) talks about tourists picking up kids as if they were theirs. think of how you'd feel if someone came up & picked up your child. it's disrespectful #bloodparks…
what about REDD+? this is the acronym for a UN program, "reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation". the idea behind this is bizs can pay locals to protect forests & emit carbon, since forests are carbon sinks. #bloodparks
but how do you pay the right person for protecting their forested land if property rights are all fucked up (thx colonizers)? & do people care about taking carbon out of the air in a culture that believes that climate change isn't human-caused (or that it's too late)? #bloodparks
i'm not going to waste my time on trophy hunting. here's a slide. #bloodparks we're still not sure that trophy hunting is still beneficial for conservation
and so the situation today, especially for the people who aren't versed in all this, is that we've got all these crises happening. and for some reason, when comparing how many animals there used to be, folks compare to around the early 1900s or so. thx @paigebyerly #bloodparks
the solutions aren't working or aren't being given enough ⏳ to work. there's a pervasive sense that a Namibian 🐘 or a Nepalese 🐅 is the heritage of some Kentucky kid. there's a sense of desperation that's felt when some1 is destroying ur property & u can't stop it #bloodparks
folks are being taught a sanitized version of history in which europeans moved into different countries > ??? > democracy or whatever.

folks are also being taught to hate the poor. that poverty is a personal failure. and the GS can be poverty-stricken #bloodparks
why don't these poor ppl get that they're causing species extinction??? (when it was colonizers that pushed them near there)

there's rage towards "poachers" (aka locals that are harvesting *their* animals). people will use this to push their conservation objectives. #bloodparks
i assume you guys heard of the elephant massacre that happened in Botswana a month or so ago. @ElesWoutBorders reported 90 elephants killed over a space of months. all poached for their ivory. went viral. #bloodparks…
read the comments on some of that org's tweets regarding the story (cuz they tweeted that story a lot & little else). you've got folks frothing at the mouth. and repeated, that the new Botswanan prez disarmed the anti-poaching unit a few months before the massacre. #bloodparks
turns out that there was no massacre.…

the anti-poaching unit is not "disarmed". they just don't have automatics anymore.

this was because Botswana has a shoot-to-kill policy, suspected some Namibians of poaching, killed them, caused tension #bloodparks
53 elephants were reported this summer, most dead from natural causes. but you still had this sudden international attention on the way Botswana deals with poachers because of the original story. #bloodparks
this idea that the anti-poaching units are "disarmed" because they don't have automatics anymore just shows how normalized the idea of these anti-poaching shoot-to-kill policies. the narrative now is that we are in a (just) war for species conservation. #bloodparks
in 2012 the elephant action league coined the term "white gold" in a report they wrote where they connected ivory poaching & terrorism (which they later walked back on). this was picked up by the NYT & the idea of poacher-terrorism caught. #bloodparks…
the senate strengthened anti-wildlife trafficking laws, in part due to "increasing evidence that wildlife trafficking is funding armed insurgencies like Al-Shaabab, LRA, and the Janjaweed..." #bloodparks…
connect poaching to terrorism & you got further motive to use military practices towards poachers. despite "poaching" being largely caused by poverty/limited access to meat (at least in Madagascar's case). #bloodparks
so you end up with these kinds of things, selling the war for conservation as a simplified story of heroes & villains, your average American shoot up... #bloodparks
while ignoring (or not pushing as hard) the fact that some of these anti-poaching units are violating human rights. and ignoring the fact that we've essentially agreed that an elephant is more important than the life of a (suspected) poacher #bloodparks…
that we're basically right back (or maybe we never left) when (white) men round up (black) men and beat them for suspected illegal activities because how dare they take what's not theirs (the wildlife)… #bloodparks
and really REALLY not looking at the fact that, no, it's not because there are too many damned Africans/Indians/etc. that we're in a crisis, it's because the avg American uses more resources than most people do #bloodparks…
and that the idea of "controlling the population" is connected to the (white) horror over the idea of black/brown peoples outnumbering them and basically taking over #bloodparks
anyways I don't have any solutions but I do agree with Agenda 21's idea of the GN *paying* the GS for conservation. because that would be a step towards giving the GS *their* wealth back. #bloodparks
here are the TLDRs

@cynth_malone is the one that intro'd me to decolonization when it came to wildlife, so have to thank her.

thxs to @aveamphibious for letting me give this presentation to the class :)

& here's a selection of 🔑 readings:…
#bloodparks europeans didn't invent wildlife management/conservation, colonizers exploited the GS, without that, the GN wouldn't be as rich/developed as it is, and continued/worse human rights violations in hte name of conservation likely to keep happening
and don't let *THEM* have you out here looking stupid and blaming some Zimbabwean or Sumatran for where we are today
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