Conservation: a rich white man's hobby?

Yesterday, Voice of Nature ran an event in the UK to discuss rewilding across the British Isles.

The event was streamed on the internet so that people from around the world could watch for free (which is great).

As someone who couldn't afford to travel down there, I decided to watch it on YouTube.  However, after realising that the entire panel of "experts" that would be discussing this topic were rich white men, it somewhat put me off.  I was struck by many questions.
Congratulations on your all-male panel
Why is it that in many conservation events, speakers are more often than not from these three categories (rich, white and male)?  What does this suggest about the diversity and equality within this sector? Should we be doing more to promote diversity?  Do these three categories suggest something to the outsider about what type of person you should be if you want to be a successful conservationist?  Is conservation another discipline stuck in hegemonic power structures?  How do these structures affect the governance and effectiveness of conservation as a discipline?  How does this affect how other stakeholders view conservation (particularly those who are more averse to conservation in the first place)?  How does this affect the legitimacy of conservation?   And why are we not doing more to change this elitism?

I tweeted my concerns to the organiser and to George Monbiot, who was one of the panellists.  Here is his response:



So, according to George, it appears that he feels it doesn't really matter if conservationists exclude the voice poor people from other ethnicities.

Worrying indeed.

In a world where conservation really needs to do all it can to be as inclusive as possible, why is it that we are still stuck in our ways on this topic?  Are critics of conservation correct in thinking that conservation is another form of neo-colonialism?  




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