What we believe in
What to conserve? where to conserve? why to conserve? how to conserve?
It all depends on what your values are, and here’s a list of some of things we believe in.
- Conservation has to become mainstream, not just the abode of the elite as it is now. Only when bus stand and tea shop conversations revolve around wildlife, forests and the sustainability of human lifestyles will our natural world have a chance of surviving the onslaught of human domination.
- Local communities are the key. Effective and lasting conservation cannot be done in short (or long) term projects by ‘outside experts’. Though protection and policing can be short term measures to save forests, in the long term unless people living in and around forest areas want to protect them, there is little hope. Any conservation must involve them all through, right from the planning stages.
- Conservation has to be holistic. Though ‘charismatic’ large mammals – the Tiger and the Elephant – are excellent ‘flagships’ to raise the profile of nature conservation, they should not become ends in themselves. Some argue that conserving these ‘keystone’ and ‘umbrella’ species spreads out a much larger net that covers a much larger natural landscape. While this is highly debated, we believe conservation strategies aimed exclusively at these charismatic large mammals, though perhaps required as a stopgap measure, is an over simplification of the problem. A host of smaller, less known species could fall through the gaps.
- Conservation cannot be limited to protected areas (PAs). With only 6% of the the country’s area ‘protected’, we have more wildlife living outside PAs than inside. Our cultural tolerance to wildlife and other living beings is a value that is fast being lost as India ‘develops’. Intensive agriculture and urban sprawls leave little room for any other living beings. Even if our PA are thriving, little fortress islands of wildlife in a barren and desolate landscape cannot be the answer.
- Human greed and the endless accumulation of wealth is the biggest problem. We believe the biggest threat in the long run is not habitat loss/fragmentation/degradation or invasive species or poaching. These are undoubtedly serious issues that we need to deal with urgently to save our forests. But even if we are successful on these in the short term, with the whole world being forced to accept a globalised notion of ever increasing ‘development’ and ‘ideal lifestyle’, all of the natural world will be destroyed long before even a fraction of the world can achieve this.