chapter  6
21 Pages

The broad social context

Theoretical considerations
ByIvette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright

Conservationists are often very impatient people. The race to save species and habitats imposes a sense of urgency because of how rapidly biodiversity is disappearing and how quickly habitats are being made unfit to support species. There are a large number of rural social movements challenging the industrial agrarian system that we identify as beginning with the spread and dominance of the European powers. There has been a disturbing tendency for Western conservationists to see landscapes in the tropics, as elsewhere, as representing, in some sense, an original condition. Sorting out the effects of European colonialism and domination over trade and economies in terms of the implications for natural communities is no easy task. Europeans also disrupted local traditions and governance. In most areas, they approached the conquered people and lands with a looter’s mentality.