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Webinar: Conservation after Covid-19: From unsustainability and inequality to revolutionary renewal?

Thursday, 9 July 2020 at 13:00 (CAT)

Join PLAAS for our next webinar in this series. In “Conservation after Covid-19: From unsustainability and inequality to revolutionary renewal?” the speakers will explore opportunities to rethink dominant conservation strategies in Southern Africa and globally. The speakers for this webinar are professors Bram Buscher (Wageningen University), Thembela Kepe (University of Toronto), and Frank Matose (University of Cape Town).

About this webinar:

In Southern Africa, biodiversity conservation has long been synonymous with deep inequality and historical injustice. And while 2020 was supposed to be a super year for biodiversity that might—together with the Sustainable Development Goals—have given a boost to halting extinction rates in conjunction with reducing inequality and poverty, Covid-19 seems to have worsened an already troubling situation. Yet the corona crisis also opens up space to think very differently about conservation and its link to broader development issues. Before the crisis, the South African government and much of the conservation sector were focused on developing the ‘Biodiversity Economy’ with its dual focus on wildlife and bioprospecting. Reflecting international mainstream approaches focusing on protected reserves on the one hand and commodifying biodiversity on the other hand, South Africa’s Biodiversity Economy strategy is an attempt to integrate conservation more fully into capitalist production processes. These are the same processes that have, together with a long history of institutionalised racial inequality, led to the deeply unsustainable and unequal conservation sector we see today.

The webinar will argue that the Covid-19 crisis presents an opportunity to radically rethink these dominant conservation strategies in Southern Africa and globally. It will outline a new ‘convivial conservation’ approach that goes beyond protected areas and faith in neoliberal economics to incorporate the needs of humans and nonhumans within integrated and just landscapes. This radical conservation proposal starts from a political ecological position centered on a critique of contemporary capitalism and dichotomous ideas about (saving) nature. It builds on this to turn conservation into a force that promotes rather than protects, that celebrates rather than saves, and that is finally recognized as an important element of creating a more equal global society. This ‘revolutionary renewal’ is the only way for conservation to contribute to the drastic transformations needed to come to a truly sustainable model of wellbeing for people and planet.

Watch the webinar here: Or click below to view.