Between ‘Conservation’ and ‘Development’: The Construction of ‘Protected Nature’ and the Environmental Disenfranchisement of Indigenous Communities
Conservation and development discourses are the two main frameworks in which global debates on how to relate to nature occur. These discourses are considered as opposed; while conservation discourses argue for the maintenance of nature in its pristine state, development discourses seek to justify re-engineering spaces to give place to cities, monocultures and roads. However, both discourses have one practical consequence in common: the environmental disfranchisement of Indigenous communities. This article uses the case of the Ecuadorian Yasuní Park to show how the implementation of both conservation and development discourses ultimately disempower Indigenous communities. We use media reports and governmental statements to document the Yasuní case. A critical analysis of the dynamics behind this and other cases allows us to expose the misleading messages, the ironic consequences and the false motives involved in some conservation projects.
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