Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction - a win-win scenario?

The last few decades of conservation policy has focused on the links between biodiversity degradation and poverty.  Whilst commendable in terms of human welfare, I think this direction is misleading: it has the mistaken premise that once people are not "poor" any more (what is "poor"?) they will no longer damage the environment.  This couldn't be further from the truth.
The "poor" Himba tribes of Namibia hunt wildlife but have a very low overall impact on the environment
Case in point: emerging markets, such as in China, are expected to have unprecedented demand for meat products as the poorer classes become more wealthy and demand these "luxury" items.  And we all know what an increase in meat production does to the environment.

Next point:  Carbon emissions.  Middle- to higher-income countries have far greater carbon emissions than those in low-income countries.  I don't even need to expand here about what increased carbon emissions will do to the earth.

As a country becomes wealthier, it's population consumes more items that are damaging to the environment: gold jewellery, hardwood furniture, international flights, dairy products, mobile phones with all their conflict minerals, and so on...

Yes, poor people can be drawn to exploit natural resources such as bushmeat or timber, but the demand for these products often comes from wealthier individuals and nations.  Plus, by exchanging bushmeat for livestock, this can have far more damaging impacts on the environment due to increased carbon, overgrazing, desertification and soil erosion.
Livestock such as cattle can easily overgraze areas when stocking rates are too high
So my question is this:  Knowing that wealthier people have more impact on the world, what will happen to the environmental impact of the less wealthy if we raise them out of "poverty"?


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