A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Two 'Commentaries of the Month'.....

Today's blog is simple: a chance to hear voices of difference, voices too often excluded from the Northern environmentalists' self-important cacophony.

A Maasai tribesmanHere are two commentaries that have just appeared which cannot be bettered; I am designating them 'Articles of the Month', and they should help us to hear, if softly and if through Northern pens, those excluded from so many environmental debates. Both articles deserve to be read in full, especially the first, a most powerful essay:

(a) 'Conservation refugees' (Mark Dowie writing in Orion, November/December 2005):
"... Curious about this brand of conservation that puts the rights of nature before the rights of people, I set out last autumn to meet the issue face to face. I visited with tribal members on three continents who were grappling with the consequences of Western conservation and found an alarming similarity among the stories I heard..." (read on)

[Upper Right: the image of a Maasai tribesman is in the public domain, and it is taken from the Wikipedia article on the Maasai)].

(b) 'Development, not climate control' (Kendra Okonski writing in the Bangkok Post, November 4):
"... Given these problems, emission controls in India would simply be counter-productive.

Fears about climate change are perhaps understandable in a country like Britain, where most people are well-nourished, live in comfortable homes that insulate them from the vagaries of the weather, and for whom malaria and diarrhoea are nuisances to avoid when spending their holidays in tropical countries.

But the priorities of Western environmentalists are often at odds with the interests of poor people.

To the millions of people who live by Nature's whims, the debate on climate change is remote, if not downright surreal.

What the poor need now is to benefit from economic development - this alone will save them from the climate."

Philip, never forgetting the voice of an old woman in West Africa, totally excluded from the world debate, saying that there were now too many trees and that she could no longer collect the grasses of her youth to make bread and baskets. It's time to listen. Coffee.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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