First published on 06/26/2019, and last updated on 07/27/2019
Environmental conservation finds itself in desperate times. Saving nature, to be sure, has never been an easy
proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene – the alleged new phase of world history in which humans dominate the earth-system seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have now become particularly stark. Several proposals for revolutionising conservation have been proposed, including ‘new’ conservation, ‘half Earth’ and more. These have triggered heated debates and potential for (contemplating) radical change. Here, we argue that these do not take political economic realities seriously enough and hence cannot lead us forward. Another approach to conservation is needed, one that takes seriously our economic system’s structural pressures, violent socio-ecological realities, cascading extinctions and increasingly authoritarian politics.
We propose an alternative termed ‘convivial conservation’. Convivial conservation is a vision, a politics and a set of governance principles that realistically respond to the core pressures of our time. Drawing on a variety of perspectives in social theory and movements from around the globe, it proposes a post-capitalist approach to conservation that promotes radical equity, structural transformation and environmental justice and so contributes to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world.