Environmentalism, Conservation, and Sustainability:
Part XI:  Environmental Movements For Long-term Success

The environmental movement has been going on for many decades now, but environmental problems have only gotten worse. This results from a lack of resolve by environmental organizations toward environmental issues that affect local communities. In fact, environmental groups often ignore these concerns or seem to work against them. Many oppose subsistence hunting, which happens legally throughout the world. Environmentalists argue that hunting disrupts wildlife populations, which causes environmental degradation.

However, environmental problems cannot be solved without environmental organizations that meet environmentalist goals as well as the needs of people living in those areas. The environmental movement must change its structure to better balance environmentalism with other factors, such as human livelihoods and the environment itself. This way it can focus more on sustainable development, which environmental organizations have been advocating for decades but have failed to achieve because they lack clear ways to measure success within their goal.

Environmental conservationists need to balance environmental concerns with other factors such as local livelihoods and practices. Without this kind of balance, environmental movements will continue failing at their goals and will not be able to create a world where both humans and nature exist harmoniously together.

Even though there has been a lot of effort to combat poaching in Africa, when residents are only given two alternatives—poaching or starvation—there is no winning situation. Killing a giraffe brings large sums of money, which can be used to feed a family for six months. Contrast that to the low salaries of rangers who are tasked with protecting wildlife, and it becomes clear that corruption is inevitable.

The livelihood of the people in these communities must be addressed if conservation efforts are to succeed. The livelihoods of illegal poachers must be made not appealing, but legal livelihoods—jobs outside the national parks—for local residents must be found.

For many years, it had been understood that environmentalism and livelihoods were incompatible with one another. Environmentalists believed that economic development would harm the environment by causing land degradation or deforestation. However, as world population increased and more countries developed industrial economies, this view became less compatible with reality. To support a growing population on an ever-smaller piece of land, livelihoods have become extremely important for humanity's survival.

Numerous studies have shown how cutting down trees negatively impacts the livelihoods of indigenous people.

"In the Congo Basin, livelihoods related to forests are correlated with forest regulations—stricter regulations predict increased livelihoods from agriculture and less livelihoods from forestry, hunting/gathering."

One study found that "forest regulations were indeed positively associated with livelihood satisfaction, livelihood diversification, and agricultural incomes whereas the regulation variable was negatively associated with game meat consumption among rural households."

Combining environmentalism, conservation, sustainability, and livelihoods is not an easy process. Integrating them brings about many difficult issues such as standardizing what "good livelihood" means or how to balance economic growth with wildlife conservation. However, without finding ways to combine environmentalism and livelihoods it will be impossible for any nation’s economy to develop in ways that are not harmful to its wildlife.

Conclusion- While there will always be some basic conflict between livelihoods and environmentalism, finding ways to balance the two is crucial for any nation’s economic growth. Integrating livelihoods and environmentalism can be difficult, but not doing so will prevent any growth in the economy without having a negative impact on its environment
September 26, 2023 — Debby McKnight