Nine San Bushmen Violently Prevented from Feeding Their Families

August 30, 2016

This article by John Vidal appeared two days ago in The Guardian, a British newspaper.

It’s about how indigenous people are violently evicted from their land in the name of conservation.

I spent 7 months earlier this year working on conservation research in the wilderness of Botswana.  Most of the local people I met had a much lower impact on the environment than I did.

I drove a truck and a gas powered boat.  They walk and pole mokoro canoes by hand.

I carried my water in from afar.  That water was filtered using power-hungry RO technology and packaged in manufactured plastic bottles.  They drink from the river.

I purchased food at a grocery store.  That food was produced in a factory or faraway farm, refrigerated, transported, and stored.  The packaging went to the landfill.  All this requires burning petroleum and consumes environmental resources.  The local people gathered from their local environment.  Their fuel use is limited to wood that they gather.  They do not make trash.

I agree with the article’s premise that indigenous people should be given full legal rights to their land to manage as they have for hundreds of years already.  They know what they are doing.  They protect it with the same commitment we give our homes.

Some of the people I met were probably hunting and fishing illegally.  But what else are they supposed to do?  They were raised on the land.  They live incredibly sustainably.  They are not the threat we should worry about.

It is ourselves in developed countries that pose the greatest risk as we siphon resources, demand convenience and comfortable lifestyles, and fund the evictions and abuse of native peoples when we ourselves would be horrified (and litigious) if our government demanded we leave our house and live on the street.  Most of the poaching in Africa is to bring her resources to the Developed World.