Aboriginal ideas of ‘wilderness’ are in contrast to romantic views of a ‘pristine’ environment. But it actively excludes Indigenous and local people from conservation.
Does nature represent eternity, ancestors, science, the present, the future, or a young earth? Is it to be revered, conserved, exploited, or sacrificed? A nation that identifies itself with nature begins to fall apart when it can no longer agree on what nature is.
Governments around the world, in the name of conservation, continue to displace large numbers of Indigenous peoples from their traditional territories in the name of a more “enlightened” vision for the land.
“I just wanted y’all to see it before it happens,” said Paul Matta, 47, a school board member who works for the local housing authority and suspects his way of life will disappear with the arrival of heavy industry in his quiet town, a grid of brightly painted homes, tourist shops, and a single restaurant.
Much has been made lately of the so-called Anthropocene — the idea that Homo sapiens has so taken over and modified Earth that we need a new name for our geological age instead of the outmoded Holocene.