National Parks, civilisation and globalisation

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History National Parks, civilisation and globalisation

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May 22, 2014 at 08:05 #12794

Reply to Yongliang Gao

National parks are a political issue. As Anna stated in her reflection, Kenyan national parks are concerned with tourism and conservation of animals. However, it is in these parks that elephant poaching happens, and Kenya’s elephant population has been consequently decreasing. To make a statement to the poachers and international community, the former Kenyan president Kibaki burned tonnes of ivory within the Tsavo West national park, where some of the poaching was happening. He was making a clear statement, that enough is enough, and that the ivory will never leave Kenya, and should not leave the national park. National parks can be and are divisive and are consistently used by the government and/or politicians to paint a certain picture to the public. It is through the national parks that Kenya is sending a message to the international community that they are conserving nature and taking care of their wildlife, which attracts the tourists. The national parks are dependent on revenue from western tourists, and if Kenya’s government denounced the protection of elephants, for example, Kenya’s tourism would drop dramatically. In effect then, the international community is putting pressure on Kenya through their national parks and the wildlife therein.

May 22, 2014 at 10:57 #12795

Reply to Nik Petek’s reflection

Since we were in the same discussion group I will try not to repeat myself too much, but I think it’s inevitable. Now that you mentioned that our group did not touch upon the problem of globalisation explicitly, I do find it curious, but I guess the question is implicit in the question of standardisation. You also mentioned that you wonder what effect do these almost semi-formal conferences have when it comes to national park management. It was something I was wondering too; if we lack an institution or at least a binding legal text, how do these ideas get transferred? What (who) decides that some ideas get implemented, whereas others do not? I guess it boils down to who wields the power and knowledge, so I think we can claim that it is the western scientific paradigm that constructs the ideological framework. Which brings us to the other issue; the issue of definition of what a national park is. I think that there is too much focus on the purpose and I believe this emphasis on purpose has its roots in what Carruthers calls the commercialization of nature; as if nature is just another tool we use in order to achieve an end, possibly an economic gain. And as you mentioned, defining something according to its purpose, completely misses the point. You know the old phenomenological question; how do you define a hammer? Is it just a tool (can we cay its purpose defines its essence)? I think not and I think we can say the same about the definition of a national park; I wouldn’t like it either if Triglav national park was renamed into Triglav tourist park, precisely because we are emotionally invested in this, which again proves that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to exclusively pragmatic explanations. Also, the remark about the connection between a consolidation of a nation and the creation of a national park, prompted a silly thought in my head, like something from an absurd Monty Python sketch: if we renamed it into a tourist park, I imagine all Slovenians walking around in flip-flops and cameras around our necks all the time 😀

May 22, 2014 at 11:32 #12796

Reply Yongliang Gao’s reflection by Kristina Berglund
Gao, I agree that the discussion we had with Jane was intriguing and though-provoking. You point out one of the most, I think, interesting but also problematic questions which is unavoidable when discussing conservation of nature: why should we do it and who gets to decide what is worth conserving? It is really not a simple issue but I think it is very relevant for us in the global environmental history program since nature conservation and national parks is a global phenomena, which connects to a lot of dimensions and levels of society. One of them, as you mentioned, is politics. Nature conservation I think is inherently political. I was interesting to hear your views on the Chinese situation, where the urbanization trend and population number is remarkable. It seems to be such a striking contrast to the Swedish political system for instance, since you have limited power to elect representatives which you find more suitable and which might have more ‘green’ ideas. China is such a influential global power and it will be very interesting to follow what the coming years will bring in further initiatives and investments from the Chinese government. I think it would also be interesting to ponder about what could contribute to change the Chinese people’s attitude towards ‘nature’ to gain more interest in issues of environment and their indigenous nature.

May 22, 2014 at 17:02 #12797

Repy to Wilen’s post- Nationalism,Conservation and Globallisation: the History of National Parks
Dear Wilen, Thank you for your work and I have interesting to know your idea about National parks.
Generally, I agree with you that enrirometal issue is not only concern about one place or one country,is our issures-as human being. like what you metioned on your paper that we can not wait too long until everyone in the world all know every datail about nature , we have no time.
But I also want to point out that, the reason when many people talk about national park always have an emotional or phsical reaction,even a little bit negative is not because they really dislike it. As what I feel is just result from their bad experiecine about the concept of national.
We all know that behind of the national, it always come with big interests, finance supporting from the state.Look back our human being’s long history, we have many nice ideas such as help each other, to be rich together,socailsim, communism and so on. But until today we still could reach those aim. Because we have to admit a reality that world is not flat,social develop, economic develop and also political develop hardly keep in a same level. Using myself as an example, I have really bad impression about the concept socialist, I treat it as a joke. The reason is because China has totally failure in reach this aim, the name socialist had been utilized by China government to cheat normal Chinese in past half a century.It resulted my parents’s tragic life.So that in a long term I could say definetly I dislike this so called socialst idea, I dislike national wherever it be used except education and medical. But after I came to Sweden, which is famous as socai system in the world, I started to realize my mistake. The problem is not socialist, but our government utitized the idea in order to getting people’s supporting and in the end
to be powerful. It’s unfair to blame the socialist or national. What I would like to express is, why many people feel sensitive on national park is not because the concept itself, but because the misunderstanding which came from what they had suffered before. And those bad experence all have close relation with the country’s embody institution. Differnt flowers need to be planted in the different soil otherwise it cannot grow up and bolsomThis the reality which we couldnt run away from it.But I still want to say that we should do sth as much as we can, we should start the frist step rather than nothing to do. This is what I felt from the lecture and seminar.

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