Reconciling ecological and social justice to promote biodiversity conservation

Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Helen Kopnina
  • Biological Conservation, April 2015, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.01.030

How to combine social justice and ecological justice

What is it about?

We focus on debates between supporters and opponents of conservation We encourage cooperation between social scientists and conservation groups. We engage with environmental ethics and ecological justice. We present alternatives for social scientists concerned with conservation. We seek to reconcile the interests of people and environment in conservation areas. In this article we focus upon a division between philosophical and ethical thought about culture and conservation. There is an ongoing debate playing out over conservation between those who believe conservation threatens community livelihoods and traditional practices, and those who believe conservation is essential to protect nonhuman species from the impact of human development and population growth. We argue for reconciliation between these schools of thought and a cooperative push toward the cultivation of an environmentally-focused perspective that embraces not only social and economic justice but also concern for non-human species. Our goal is to underline the ethics and tangible benefits that may result from combining the cultural data and knowledge of the social sciences with understanding of environmental science and conservation. We highlight instances in which social scientists overlook their own anthropocentric bias in relationship to ecological justice, or justice for all species, in favor of exclusive social justice among people. We focus on the polemical stances of this debate in order to emphasize the importance of a middle road of cooperation that acknowledges the rights of human and nonhuman species, alike. In conclusion, we present an alternative set of ethics and research activities for social scientists concerned with conservation and offer ideas on how to reconcile the conflicting interests of people and the environment.

Why is it important?

We focus on debates between supporters and opponents of conservation We encourage cooperation between social scientists and conservation groups. We engage with environmental ethics and ecological justice. We present alternatives for social scientists concerned with conservation. We seek to reconcile the interests of people and environment in conservation areas.

Perspectives

Dr Helen Kopnina
The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Environmental justice (social justice in distribution of resources) often excludes ecological justice (justice between species). we discuss how social and ecological justice can be reconciled

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.01.030

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Helen Kopnina