National Parks, civilisation and globalisation

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May 20, 2014 at 17:20 #12757
anna.shoemaker@arkeologi.uu.se

Jane Carruthers

May 20, 2014 at 17:21 #12758
anna.shoemaker@arkeologi.uu.se

Today we had a really engaged discussion with Jane Carruthers, a pioneer in South African environmental history, who did her doctoral research on game preservation in nineteenth century Transvaal. I am very interested in the politics of wildlife preservation in Kenya, and I see a lot of parallels, but also many differences between the ‘conservation scene’ in South Africa. I found it really helpful today to think internationally about national parks.
Both South African and Kenyan national parks originated in pre-independence Africa, and famed colonial-era (non-African) wildlife enthusiasts have had instrumental roles in the creation of the identity of these landscapes. African visitors to national parks in South Africa and Kenya continue to be a minority. Carruthers showed that the growing black South African middle-class does not consider national parks to be a destination of choice for leisure and recreation, and white South Africans outnumber black in national park attendance. In Kenya, white Kenyans number just 0.2% of the population, and the domestic tourism sector is small as the majority of Kenyans simply cannot afford to enjoy national parks, despite the gate fees being reduced for citizens. Tourism in Kenya is dominated by visitors from the UK, USA, Italy, Germany, and France.
East Africa claims to be the birthplace of safaris (a Swahili word) a practice immortalized by Karen Blixen, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway in addition to the great White Hunters and their aristocratic clientele (such as British royal family). In South Africa Carruthers finds the history of national parks to be deeply tied to Afrikaner nationalism, and characters such as Anton Rupert and Paul Kruger feature heavily.
Both white South Africans and Kenyans revered wildlife for valuable trophies (ivory but also food for the pot) and the high-adventure of sport hunting. Wildlife was also a nuisance on privately owned farmlands and grazing areas however, and had to be controlled in these contexts. National parks in East and South Africa were created to set aside land on which wildlife could be enjoyed and conserved without having to clash violently with people. ‘Gentlemanly’ sport hunters and men of military rank (preferably officers) in Kenya and South Africa often turned to the occupation of game warden. Participation of black Africans in national parks in Kenya and South Africa has historically been that of poacher, or native ranger. In addition, the creation of National Parks necessitated the annexation of black African land.
To take a very cynical view, national parks in Kenya and South Africa have shifted in post-independence/apartheid times from being bastions of white privilege to being tourist dollar attractions. Narratives have changed in the national park scene from issues of animal conservation to sustainable development. The tourist industry employs some 10% of the South African population, and is consistently the largest or second largest foreign currency earner in Kenya. Despite this, the financial benefits of national parks in Kenya do not trickle down to the majority of people who live in the vicinity and have to bear the cost of land alienation and wildlife conflict (though the conservation community is increasingly committed to improving the situation). Finally, national parks and the wildlife within them are also great public relations tools that governments can use to manipulate the international community, and conservation crises have served as red herrings for human rights violations.
Anyways, so that is my really negative view of national parks in Kenya and South Africa. I recognize that I am painting a picture with a very broad brush –there are many black Kenyans and South Africans that value national parks, are passionate about wildlife, and benefit from their existence. The complexities of who is disenfranchised and who gains from national parks are difficult to unravel. I’m also probably conflating conservation areas, game reserves, and national park franchises too liberally. Furthermore, I personally think it is a good thing that people are interested in ensuring the continuity of the fauna and flora of sub-Saharan Africa, and national parks do attempt to do that.
Yet, I also think we should shine a critical light on environmental protection initiatives which are often presented as inherently noble but are imbued with unequal class and power relations. Carruthers brought up an interesting point today and that is that national parks are scrutinized for their ability to benefit animal and human communities and their objectives must always be presented as altruistic. Other nationally important industries like mining in South Africa or agro-business in Kenya are not expected to be so friendly. Issues of morality figure heavily in conservation, but determining whose standards should be complied to is murky. I really enjoyed this Current Debates class because I feel this touches on a question that must be discussed in sustainability/environmental studies – what exactly is it ‘we’ want, who are we, and what are we prepared to sacrifice to get it?

May 20, 2014 at 21:36 #12759
ramseymorag@gmail.com

GEH: May 20th, Morag Ramsey

This week’s lecture and seminar with Jane Carruthers touched on interesting issues that arise when it comes to national parks. In particular Kristina and Maria raised the issues about globalization and standardization of such parks. This discussion reflected back to our autumn seminar on UNESCO heritage sites and their controversies and uses. What strikes me about these institutions is the underlying assumptions about nature and society that power them and their implicit universality. The points Carruthers brought up about the diverse nature of national parks problematizes these assumptions.

As Carruthers mentioned, national parks are not globally standardized and the term ‘national park’ functions more as a brand that invokes certain feelings without necessarily living up to any criterions. With that being the case, governments can create a national park to meet different needs and to produce different consequences in varying sizes and formats. National parks also exist in different landscapes; jungles, mountains, oceans, urban centres, and combinations of terrains to name only a few, and some straddle different political boundaries as well. As Carruthers stated on Monday, South Africa’s incentives for creating national parks changed from conserving species, to elite tourism, to a form of economic subsidy tourism for surrounding inhabitants and population.

Unlike UNESCO heritage sites, national parks are not held up to an international standard. On the one hand, this allows for more flexibility in creating a national park that functions in its own unique landscape, and to possibly account for different cultural, social, ecological and economic demands than elsewhere. On the other hand, it is difficult for the international community to hold a nation responsible for maintaining a certain standard within their national parks.

Underlying these issues are assumptions about how nature and society should interact on a global scale, and in some cases, create the idea of society as removed from nature. While there are seemingly practical arguments about maintaining biodiversity and decreasing pollutants, these arguments also rest on ideas of what a ‘healthy’ earth should look like. Despite hegemonic ideas of clean, non-polluted, ‘wild’ areas of the earth as the ideal prototype for nature being quite accepted it still encapsulates different power structures, histories, and economic influence. While it is difficult to argue against a clean ocean, it is also difficult to argue for removing people’s livelihood’s with no ready alternative, if that is what would be sacrificed. What was uplifting in some ways was Carruthers’ example of how profit from South African national parks can be funneled back into society into areas that really need economic attention, such as HIV/AIDS clinics. I hope that more transferable social gains can come along with preserving natural landscapes.

May 21, 2014 at 06:31 #12760
nickhirschstein@live.nl

GEH 20th may; Jane Carruthers

National parks, civilization and globalization

Carruthers mentions in her speech and text the disparity between World Heritage sites (higly controlled/monitored) and National Parks (in the case of Southern Africa almost not monitored), which sketches a complex question whether these qualifications are any good and whether it would be beneficial to standardize parks any more.

As far as I understood from the discussion “National parks” in South Africa are qualified as such to rank them over other parks or reserves or to show national importance or pride. When it comes to regulation such a park nothing is set in stone; there is no unifying rule for national parks globally; which makes the title of ‘national park’ pretty much obtainable to pretty much any park there is; this raises the question whether we should use a phrase still, since it is open to everyone; it does not necessarily reflect the pride that was supposed to come with it. IN the case of South Africa it often means that the “national park” is often open to commercial exploitation, without complete clear monitoring how the biodiversity is maintained at the same time. I agree with the notion that every park is different and is hard to standardize,but I would think that if a park carries the title “national park” that it needs to adhere to some specifics. These specifics do not have to be too specific, but I can imagine there could be a commission judging on if a park has any national significance; whether it is unique in its kind; and whether it is preserved for the local people (and not merely exploited for commercial gains), without imposing continous boundaries like the world heritage does.

Regarding Unesco’s World Heritage Sites I was surprised to learn that you actually have to put in an application (which fair enough should be an option to everyone), but that Unesco itself doesn’t pick any sites (so it is a one sided option). I am sure that if they consider Kruger’s national park worthy of a WOrld Heritage Site, but Kruger park is afraid that they can’t commercialize it anymore in the rate that they do now, i am sure they should be able to step in.Of course this is not as simple as i just wrote it down, but there should be some more initiative from this foundation, since it is aimed towards protecting important heritage sites around the world, and these sites can’t apply for themselves.

To come back to the question of national parks and standardization I ahve started to wonder whether all national parks, for example in Europe are also so loosely regulated and lack supervision

May 21, 2014 at 12:59 #12778
nisa.dedic@gmail.com

Reflection on the discussion seminar with Jane Carruthers, 20th of May

The discussion with Jane Carruthers was to me the most engaging one so far in the course. With her convincing, assertive, yet very engaging manner of presenting the institution of national parks in the global context, Jane roused my interest in a topic that is typically very far removed from my field of interest (and also my knowledge scope). So far, I have never questioned the origin and all the implications hidden in a phenomenon so widespread and common; probably, it is precisely this wide dissemination and occurrence of national parks that make them seem self-evident and self-justifying. The fact that we lack a standardization of criteria of what constitutes and counts as a national park, made it that much easier for the phenomenon to pass unnoticed, so to speak, but in a way it also enables us to follow the flow and transformations of the idea of a national park in a global context, without those ideas being obscured in legal and conservationist jargon. This demands attention; which ideas and purposes of national parks were disseminated and how were they consolidated if we lack a supranational institution that would enforce these ideas?
After the group discussion about the pros and cons caused by the lack of standardization, I think that as a group we were left at an impasse. However, I think there are more advantages brought by the fact that national parks are a slippery category, since I am convinced that in this way it is possible to evade the universalization and the centrifugal forces of standardization that would inevitably be shaped by Eurocentric perspectives of what purposes a national park should serve. Yet, global trends are clear; nowadays the economic purpose is prioritized but in the past the purposes varied: from consolidating a nation by constructing a certain vision of nature and civilization and the bond this constructed nature holds with people who inhabit it, to egalitarian notions of a public landscape, to aesthetic notions of sublime beauty of unique landscapes etc. As a perpetual contrarian (it seems I will never grow out of this attitude) I find the elusive character of the national park phenomenon to be a potential tool for constructing meanings and purposes that are not in line with what the dominant tendencies currently are. Put frankly, the emptiness of the term national park makes it a potential vehicle for subversion and revolt against the ever-growing commercialization of nature cloaked in buzzwords such as sustainable development, growth, income generating and whatnot. National or local governance also enables a policy more attuned to the socio-eco(nomo)logical contexts. Perhaps my vision of this is too idealistic, since the lack of standardization and surveillance could result in the usurpation of the institution of a national park by agendas that could lead to ethnic strife, dispossesion of people’s land, activities detrimental to biodiversity etc.
In the end, it was Jane’s question whether we would like to live in a fully standardized world, that convinced me that perhaps it is better to think of the elusiveness of national parks as something carrying potential to offer alternatives to the universalizing tendencies of Eurocentric values and meanings that dominate the construction of nature and ultimately its purpose.

May 21, 2014 at 13:37 #12780
berglund_k@hotmail.com

Reflection paper, Jane Carruthers May 20th, Kristina Berglund

I think National Parks constitute a truly relevant topic in global environmental history, as they is one of our oldest forms of nature protection, with even older roots. National parks exist all around the globe, and are part of the nature conservation history so relevant for the environmental debate and history. The more I read about the matter I find my prejudices dissolve more and more. For example I for long thought that there were international rules and requirements to follow to in order for a conservation area to be allowed to be called a National Park. In later years I learnt this is truly not the case, as Carruthers also so clearly reminded us about this week.
With the theme National Parks, Civilization and Globalization, Carruthers discussed the history of conservation and national parks in South Africa but also how the concept of National Parks have spread throughout the world as part of modern globalization. I found it very relevant and suggestive to connect the National Park into a global context, and I think this is one of Carruthers many strengths.
I also find it interesting how the notion of a National Park generates a specific picture in mind, like it is something similar regardless where you find it. On the contrast, there are no international regulations or standardizations for National Parks whatsoever; they are diverse and different depending on where they are located. As Carruthers described, the world national, and thus the word National Park, brings with it an “appealing aura of goodness” – it seems to represent civilized modernity and brings benign connotations like cherished western concepts such as ‘democracy’. But the question is; what is really a National Park? And what do we want national parks to be? Should they exist to promote ‘development’, for generation of jobs and income, for tourism, research, or for protecting valuable natural resources? Who should be involved in the management of the parks? What value do we put in words like wilderness, nature and conservation? There are no simple answers, and although the National Park as a concept is global, there are no global solutions. An important point I take with me from Carruthers is that all national parks were created in a specific historical context, with specific political, economic and social structures. Thus, there can only be context-based management strategies and characteristics for the park in question.
One of the principles of a national park seems to be that it should be accessible for people, in other words open for tourism. They should also provide sights for research. However, as Carruthers pointed out, the research part seems to have fallen into oblivion on behalf of the tourism activities, which generates income for the country/area in particular. What is somewhat sad is that money in many cases seems to be the only force keeping the national parks intact, not any intrinsic value of the natural resources and habitats they hold. But again, there are so many interests and actors involved in these areas, and the view of these actors are likely not always to correspond.
As Carruthers concluded in her epilogue there is much more to uncover in the regard of National Parks, and it will be truly interesting to further deepen my knowledge on this topic.

May 21, 2014 at 14:02 #12781
gaoyongliang@yahoo.com

Reflection of the discussion (20th May)
By Yongliang Gao

I really enjoyed yesterday’s discussion with Jane and all of you. During the discussion, we talked about how globalization could contribute to a healthy environment of valuable nature with a healthy human society bordering national parks.

I think our discussion was extensively concentrated on political issues. Like someone said, to build and maintain a national park, politicians play a big role because they are responsible for leasing out fund and deciding how the money should be used. One issue arose our concern was that some politicians may deploy the policies in the short-term as they care more about the situation during their tenures. Hence, it’s hard to measure the sustainable development of the national park as it requires a longer time to examine the sustainability of the park. Another issue in question is the purpose of building a national park. Obviously, a few national parks are built not only for safeguarding the ecology within the parks, but also to stimulate economic benefits. Regularly, a national park is planned with an aim to attract tourists. For me, this is a dilemma because if the parks exclude tourists, the economic gain would be largely decreased; whereas if the parks are open to the tourists, especially the popular ones, tourism activities may in turn lead to ecological degradation in the parks. In that case, what is the legitimacy of pouring money into establishing and maintaining the national parks?

Except that, we also talked about people’s attitude toward nature in China. I would say that it’s rather difficult to compare nature with China the West. First of all, the population of China is dramatically large and most of them dwell in cities. Consequently, the investment majorly goes to the cities and the infrastructure (e.g. Road, electricity, water and food) in the rural area, thus, is way lag-behind in comparison with that in the cities. Second, I would say, nature is, in some degree, disconnected and unattractive to the urban inhabitants as nature only locates in the remote, undeveloped regions. No matter how intact or beautiful the nature is, the Chinese people barely look forward to approaching there. Rather than getting to the nature, the Chinese people indeed pay more attention on improving their living environment in the cities.

May 21, 2014 at 14:50 #12782
gaoyongliang@yahoo.com

Reply to Nick’s post
By Yongliang Gao

I agree with you that there is a need for formulating criteria so as to regulate national parks. But as what I know, national parks are always built with an aggressive commercial aim rather than the aim of conserving the biodiversity or ecology within the parks, although politicians always highlight the environmental benefits that national parks could release. That’s why a national park is usually a well-known tourist destination even for the UNESCO world heritage sites.

It may seem frustrating, but I think somehow a national park is catastrophic to the environment as long as it is open to human beings. I think mankind should just leave the nature as wild as it should be instead of turning it into a park because a lot of people would be easily attracted to a national park and I bet where there is people there must be pollution!!! However, I do appreciate the need of being an UNESCO’s world heritage site as it is human patrimony and if we do not protect a heritage site, it would be destroyed by natural or human activities some day and consequently the physical evidence of our cultural root will disappear at the same time.

May 21, 2014 at 16:27 #12783
wytt2002@sina.com

I have attended a really good open lecture and also discusse with Jane Carruthers, a pioneer in South African environmental history. It gave me a deep impression about National park development history in South Africa. I hope one day I could get a chance to go to that nice country. During the discussion, we talked about how globalization could contribute to a healthy environment of valuable nature with a healthy human society bordering national parks. Because I have worked for China local government for more then 4 years, So actually I have strong intereting to think about how to make a nice claim come to tureth. As what I understand, national parks as a concept is not easy to set up and also copy to different courtries.It need a good social system or constructre. How to make decision on finding correct place to set up national park, how to set up a good standard which is not only concern about economic but also good at environment protecting. For example, In order to help the poor town in China, China central government has a policy that every 5 years selects 100 poorest town in whole country, give them extral money and free taxe to help them delveop the local economic and education which I think is a good idea. But during those years I had worked, I have noticed what those local goverments did was just try to prove there town is the poorest..They even fake important data in order to get the huge money which is come from central government. In the end the local people didn’t get the help, the “helping 100 poorest town ” project just become to another corruption way .What I want to figure out is, behind the national parks idea, it also means collect money from state to certain region. It concerns huge interests. People can do whatever to get it if a society lacking of good supervise system and fari law system which is always lack of in most of developing contury,

May 21, 2014 at 18:41 #12788
wilen.m@gmail.com

Nationalism, Conservation and Globalisation: the History of National Parks (20 May 2014)
Most people have an emotional and/or physical relation connected with the term “national park”. If you are a local villager, living around the border around Kruger National Park in South Africa you probably have a different view of its significance than if you are a citizen living in Sidney, having the opportunity to visit Royal National Park on a regularly basis if you want. Thus, your social and economic situation, educational level and your residence play an important role for your experience and perception.
Although “national park” has become like brand name, it has completely different implications depending on when, where and why it was established. In addition, today, the rules for a specific ecosystem/natural environment to become a national park have been, or are being “modernized”. The right of people to a healthy environment, as well as linking justice to environmental questions, is changing the concept of the term as it was originally; often” untouched” wilderness for so called sportsmen. Since the UNESCO conference in 1972, to the “duty” of national parks, issues regarding natural heritage and environmental sustainability have been added. Moreover, with the globalization, a more extended communication with involved authorities, local and international societies is required to integrate all the functions of a national park. This could feel like an almost impossible task, but bringing new actors, could bring a stronger foundation for discussions and decisions.
So, what is the purpose of a national park in a contemporary society? Is it relevant to set aside land owned publically (= belonging to the state) for recreation, adventurous tourism, scientific studies and conservation of flora and fauna, esthetical values if not all citizens have the opportunity to gain access? Should a national park pay for its existence, and if so, what is the value and how much should visitors contribute with? How much of the original landscape should be “civilized” to fit human activity? What kind of activities should be allowed and how should it be managed? These and more questions come into my mind from listening the lecture with Jane Carruthers. In a world with diminishing space for non-human beings, either they belong to the plant or the animal kingdom, we cannot wait too long to let people gain knowledge and participate in decisions about how we want to manage limited resources. Maybe, in a society with respect for both human development and our environment, more national parks, being utilized sustainable, should be created, so that we have a daily experience and reminder of where we live. Urban parks with indigenous trees for shade and heat reduction in summer, bees for fruit production and biodiversity, along with facilities giving people access to nature for understanding the reason why it is there could become reality.
And finally, a question of changing the “brand name” national park to something the has a more representative meaning, but what would that new, relevant term be?

May 21, 2014 at 21:40 #12789
ramseymorag@gmail.com

Response to Anna’s commentary.

I think that we both find some of the same issues interesting from Carruthers lecture and seminar, and I enjoyed the Kenyan perspective you incorporate into the discussion. In some ways I feel a bit undereducated about the specifics when it comes to South African national parks (although more educated by this week’s readings and focus) and definitely undereducated when it comes to the Kenyan case. What remains apparent despite different global locations is the politics underlying national parks and in these two cases especially their colonial history.

I agree with your conclusion about reexamining the apparent nobility of some institutions such as national parks as their seemingly innocuous aims carry historical developments cloaked in prejudices and inequalities. However, it is a fine line to walk when one wants to engage in the field itself and use such institutions to their own ends and research and I find this issue to be unresolvable on all fronts. As we live in a ‘post colonial’ world and all that it has left behind, it seems a rather daunting task to dismantle everything and untangle the politics of it all. I suppose as people who are drawn towards post colonial and colonial projects and issues it is best to try and be as sensitive as possible without erasing our own space in this world.

May 21, 2014 at 21:50 #12790
anna.shoemaker@arkeologi.uu.se

In response to Wilen M.

I think you’ve really brought to the fore the uncomfortable dilemma that Carruthers research focuses on. The national park brand conjures up images of altruistic conservation of wild nature, and acts as a symbol of national pride. Yet the history of these parks suggests they are not quite so benign. The idea of rebranding national parks (by those in the business) seems unlikely, because the P.R. is still great. As Carruthers pointed out, a more representative name in South Africa may be tourist park, but that is decidedly cringe-worthy.
The national park brand feels deceptive, because they commodify nature, and they create spaces where only the elite enjoy the environment. This also parallels a lot of global patterns where wealthier nations/organizations/institutions shame ‘developing’ countries for not prioritizing environmental issues and having less ‘green’ infrastructure. Research into carbon sequestration and REDD/REDD+ initiatives are also very critical about setting aside natural resources for the benefit of an ambiguous greater good.
The national park situation provides something of a petri dish for those interested in examining the complexities of sustainable development. I guess the issue I still struggle with is really being critical and reflexive about my own perceptions of nature and environment, this conflict between nature – lots of it for everyone, and nature – a bourgeois sentimentalist entitlement. I suppose a third category would be nature – science approved. I think it’s really important to unpack different conceptions of ‘nature’ from as many different stakeholders as possible.

May 22, 2014 at 07:30 #12791
nik.petek@arkeologi.uu.se

Reflection on the discussion 20th May
The seminar and lecture on national parks was an “I never knew you could think that way about parks” moment for me. It was extremely interesting to learn about the history of national parks and how they can be used as a tool for both the people and the state in making claims. For example, the people can add the national park into their rhetoric/discussion with the state when trying to preserve their own environment outside of the park, saying that industrial development of the area would have adverse effects on the national park. Or, Slovenia made claims of being a nation by establishing a national park. It is like talking about material culture and materiality theory in archaeology, but on a much grander scale.

I was in the discussion group talking about the standardisation of parks. Curiously, I don’t think we touched on globalisation and how much that would affect the standardisation of them, or how much that could contribute to it. Even though the idea of national parks is now widespread around the world, it seems that every park is run uniquely. Every 10 years they also organise a big national parks convention, where they discuss how parks can be involved in tourism, sustainable development etc. What happens is that all these national parks, which are run uniquely and have their unique environment, attend a globalising event discussing topics, which are considered (in the global western world) as “hip.” I’m not sure what effects these conventions have on how the parks operate and how the managing staffs promote and are making the parks relevant to the society. But imagine if they had an effect on the managing of parks and managers attended a convention on parks and education. Could we then not see the new education projects and policies implemented in the national parks as a globalising and also globally standardising effect, since all the parks are doing the same thing? This certainly depends on if the national parks conventions do have an effect or not.

The other thing I found interesting is the mentioning of rebranding national parks according to their purpose. For example, if a park’s purpose was to attract tourists then we should rebrand it as a tourist park. What interests me most about this is how people would then perceive national parks, or in this case tourist parks. I personally would be against such a rebranding, due to my relationship with the Triglav national park in Slovenia. Although it has multiple purposes, like nature conservation, research of ecosystems, as a place of peace and quiet, people that come there are technically tourists. But I am very sure, nobody perceives themselves as such. They see themselves as nature-lovers, hikers, people who just went on a trip for a day or two. Renaming the Triglav national park into Triglav tourist park would have negative effects. In a way it would imply the purpose of the park is to watch tourists, which nobody wants to do. People go to these parks to observe “true” nature. Because of this personal relationship with the Triglav national park I would be against rebranding it in such a way. Furthermore (as a silly question), if we did rebrand the parks, would not then the only national park left in the world be the Triglav national park, because the Slovenians made a claim to be a nation with it?

Sorry for the late posting. I must have forgotten to click the submit button the first time and then erased it all by closing my browser.

May 22, 2014 at 07:46 #12792
wilen.m@gmail.com

Reply towytt2002sina-com from Maria
I find your knowledge from working within the Chinese bureaucracy very interesting. Your experience of corrupted governmental representatives, is unfortunately not unique for China – it occurs in both developing and developed countries. From your description I am not sure whether the “faking” village did get any money, when they pretended to be very poor. Instead of the policy of giving the villages reported themselves as the poorest, a system which subsides only village with good management and proper plans for what they need to improve education, health, environment etc would be more appropriate. I believe that education has a major function for making people interested and responsible citizens, being able to take part in solutions that are of concern for them.
I know very little about the history of national parks in China. With a high population pressure, both for food production and urbanization, the task of choosing, developing and maintaining a national park, or any other kind of restricted area preserved for protecting land, fauna and flora, is most probable not in any local or national “pipeline” in China. But, cost for reducing air and water pollution, is an immediate measures, although that could, and should be, combined with sustainable utilization of natural resources. What are the governmental propositions for preserving land, what are the rules for a national park or other nature reserves? It would also be interesting to know the Chinese’s perception of the value of nature for recreation, mental and physical recovery. How much are they prepared to act to push the government to save land for biodiversity and future generations? What about NGOs and local grassroots? How active are Chinese institutions when they participate in global conventions, conferences etc? From looking at the Internet, many young Chinese seem to be aware and worried about the environmental situation in China, but how much and what can they do and is conservation issues of priority? What we learned from Jane’s seminar was that it really is a question of global contribution from local and indigenous people, scientists and politicians to make the decisions that certainly will affect the future, as we are inevitable dependent on the environment to survive.

May 22, 2014 at 07:56 #12793
anna.shoemaker@arkeologi.uu.se

saw this today – some of you might be interested
op-ed about African tourists in Kenya

“We (Africans) don’t actually like looking at animals in the park… We don’t visit to see animals or mountains.”

http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/-The-African-tourist-has-money-but-is-a-strange-creature/-/440808/2322286/-/yke6oi/-/index.html

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