Reply to Nik Petek by Kristina Berglund
Nik, are you always this cynical? 🙂
Indeed ‘the white man’s burden’ is a sad reflection of our colonizing legacies and history of cruel dominance. Your experience from Kenya is very interesting, and the history of conservation projects in Baringo does not seem very cheerful. I have myself similar experiences from a short visit in Kenya last spring, even though I think I am leaning towards the more romanticizing type. Maybe call it naivety to some extent but I think this wicked world also needs some stubborn faith in the ‘good’. Conservation is indeed a problematic (and very political) phenomenon, and even though many so called community based initiatives have been launched in recent years, the risk is often impending that the visions of local participation remains on a piece of paper. Or that it becomes yet another panacea for healthy ecosystems. We have discussed this a lot in a conservation reading course I am part of, and sometime it feels tricky how to approach this in my own thesis work later on. However I believe there are also many positive sides of conservation, it all depends on how it is carried out. Hopefully more of these initiatives can be steered into a more positive direction with more agency and power to ‘locals’ and less to rich high-ups and greedy capitalists.