Conservation needs a revolution. This is the only way it can contribute to the drastic transformations needed to come to a truly sustainable model of development. The good news is that conservation is ready for revolution. Heated debates about the rise of the Anthropocene and the current ‘sixth extinction’ crisis demonstrate an urgent need and desire to move beyond mainstream approaches. Yet the conservation community is deeply divided over where to go from here. Some want to place ‘half earth’ into protected areas. Others want to move away from parks to focus on unexpected and ‘new’ natures. Many believe conservation requires full integration into capitalist production processes.
Building a razor-sharp critique of current conservation proposals and their contradictions, Büscher and Fletcher argue that the Anthropocene challenge demands something bigger, better and bolder. Something truly revolutionary. They propose convivial conservation as the way forward. This approach goes beyond protected areas and faith in markets to incorporate the needs of humans and nonhumans within integrated and just landscapes. Theoretically astute and practically relevant, The Conservation Revolution offers a manifesto for conservation in the twenty-first century—a clarion call that cannot be ignored.
About the Author
Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University and holds visiting positions at the University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch University. Bram has published over 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes and is the author of Transforming the Frontier: Peace Parks and the Politics of Neoliberal Conservation in Southern Africa. Bram is one of the senior editors of the open-access journal Conservation & Society.
Robert Fletcher is Associate Professor in the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His research interests include conservation, development, tourism, climate change, globalization and resistance and social movements. He is the author of Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism (Duke University Press, 2014) and co-editor of NatureTM Inc.: Environmental Conservation in the Neoliberal Age (U of Arizona Press, 2014) and Lessons from the Ecolaboratory: Negotiating Environment and Development in Costa Rica (U of Arizona Press, forthcoming), having also written more than sixty academic articles and book chapters. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of Geoforum and Associate Editor of Conservation & Society.
“This book is a remarkable intellectual and political achievement, demonstrating nothing less than how to organize and practice revolutionary conservation beyond the Anthropocene, but within the ruins of uneven socio-ecological capitalist development. A razor-sharp analysis of conservation and how to politicize its futures.” —Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester
“In our era of unprecedented conservation needs and challenges, this hard-hitting, clear-sighted book offers a radical and timely way forward. Two eminent and committed political ecologists cut a path through old and new conservation debates and dichotomies—people vs. nature, capitalism vs. post-capitalism—to offer a new paradigm and politics around conviviality. Vital reading, and a vital manifesto for all concerned with how people and non-human natures can live well together.” —Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
“Buscher and Fletcher significantly advance radical alternatives to mainstream conservation, especially by locating them within the need for systemic alternatives to capitalism (and hopefully by implication, though not explicitly stated, patriarchy). Their notion of convivial conservation, building on innovative traditions that have broken away from dominant notions of progress and develop-ment, helps envisage an end to the human domination of the earth, so desperately needed.” —Ashish Kothari, co-author with A. Shrivastava of Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India
“This book is an remarkable intellectual and political achievement, demonstrating nothing less than how to organize and practice revolutionary conservation beyond the Anthropocene, but within the ruins of uneven socio-ecological capitalist development. A razor-sharp analysis of conservation and how to politicize its futures.” —Erik Swyngedouw
“The debate over the conservation of creation is necessarily deep and contentious—this new approach deserves a careful reading from everyone who cares about human and more-than-human nature!” —Bill McKibben
"A thoughtful, gentle and comprehensive overview...will become a mandatory read in political ecology, environmental history and conservation courses everywhere." —Journal of Political Ecology
“Both a theoretical and practical guide for anyone looking to reevaluate their relationship with capitalism—and the future of life on earth … As the world experiences the catastrophic effects of political and economic systems that prioritize profits over people, The Conservation Revolution provides an essential foundation for reconsidering the status quo and prompts us to move toward a more equitable, sustainable future.” —Amelia Rina, BOMB
“Both rigorous and accessible … an important addition to revolutionary thought in political ecology.” —Jordan Teicher, Uneven Earth
“The Conservation Revolution was, for me, a refreshing read in bleak times. It struck the right balance between realism and hopeful optimism by putting forward ideas for conserving nature that do not simply imagine ways of being outside of capitalism, but that recognize the need to remedy capitalist conservation’s cumulative negative effects.” —Y. Ariadne Collins, Antipode