Mya-Rose will talk about the foundations of the conservation sector and how racism was pervasive from the beginning and continues to this date.
The nineteenth-century context will begin with Darwin and Wallace’s travels around the world. They collected (a euphemism for shooting) thousands of birds, sending the specimens back to the Natural History Museum, as birds “new to man”. Teddy Roosevelt, the US President, declared Native Americans the cause of the decline of animals (regularly shot by his class), and that the land was being degraded by their inability to nurture and preserve it and so needed the formation of a National Park, Yosemite in California. John Muir confirmed was needed to protect the area from Native Americans, who were then forcibly removed. All three naturalists remain revered by conservationists in 2019.
She will also talk about how this conservation model is still used today in Africa and Asia. In the Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, 700 indigenous communities were evicted from their rainforest covered lands in 1970, when the park was created without compensation. Today, there are allegations about human rights abuses linked to WWF funded park rangers about punishments to those entering the Park.
Mya-Rose will also talk about nature camps she has run for Visible Minority ethnic children and teenagers, how she engages every one with nature and the environment, how the sector needs to change and become ethnically diverse if it is to succeed.