Conserving the environment is no easy feat and some tough decisions are definitely going to be made along the way. There are even some decisions that will be made that won’t necessarily seem moral. That’s exactly what’s happening with conservation refugees. Indigenous peoples are being forced to leave the land that they as a tribe have inhabited for hundreds of years in order for conservationists to protect the environment that these people lived in. While saving the environment is an incredibly important task, the rights of others need to be put into perspective. For this reason, it is morally unacceptable for conservationists to create conservation refugees.
When these indigenous people are forced to leave their land, they are placed into worse conditions than they had before. Dowie in “Conservation Refugees” discusses a great example of conservation refugees who were forced to move to a place that is not ideal. The Batwa people were forced to leave their land after it became a national park and word got out that they were killing silverback gorillas, even though they weren’t really killing them. These people were then moved into camps where there wasn’t any running water. Basically, these people went from living a life that they were comfortable and happy in and were forced to live in a place where they couldn’t even clean themselves with running water in order to save the environment. Is it morally acceptable to force people to live somewhere where they are worse off than where they lived before? If this were to happen now in Tucson and people who lived in homes were forced to move into tents on the side of the road in order to preserve the land their house was built on, there would definitely be an uproar of angry residents who will fight to get a home. One might ask why the conservation refugees aren’t making a huge fuss about being forced to live in those camps if it’s so awful. The answer is simple, these indigenous people aren’t accustomed to this new environment with laws and rights and people bossing them around. These people had their own way of life that wasn’t the same as ours and they were just thrown into it probably without knowing exactly what to do to. However, some tribe leaders will go to conferences and speak out about the wrongdoing and how different their lives are now in hopes to attract attention to the situation and allow it to be corrected. In more current evictions, like the Mayans in Mexico, there is more heat surrounding the situation. Dowie states that the Mayans eviction could very easily start a civil war.
Even though “alternative livelihood schemes” were created to compensate these people who were forced to relocate, they don’t do enough and conservation refugees are still left worse off. These schemes don’t take into consideration the tribes culture when being created. For this reason they often come off as “insensitive” to the indigenous peoples. (Survival International) If...