The Conservation Revolution. Radical Ideas for Saving Nature beyond the Anthropocene

The Conservation Revolution. Radical Ideas for Saving Nature beyond the Anthropocene

03.06.2019, Monday
ATREE Auditorium

Abstract (Based on a forthcoming book co-authored with Robert Fletcher):

The question how to pursue environmental conservation has become acute. Saving nature has, of course, never been an easy proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have now become particularly stark. It is therefore no surprise that we have recently seen several radical proposals for revolutionizing conservation, surrounded by heated debates. One proposal, the ‘new’ conservation, asserts that humans must take their ‘earth domination’ seriously and manage this to maximize sustainability and economic development. The response was a radical resurgence of ‘neoprotectionism’. This view aims to separate development from conservation and calls (again) for a drastic expansion of protected areas, even up to 'half earth'. In this presentation, we evaluate these proposals and conclude that while they hold important seeds for radical change, their contradictions cannot lead the way forward. Instead, we propose a third alternative: ‘convivial conservation’. Convivial conservation imagines and builds a post-capitalist approach to conservation that contributes to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world. In the presentation we outline some of the pillars of this approach as an invitation for further co-development by all those interested in revolutionizing conservation to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

About the speaker:

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’ (Duke University Press, 2013). Bram is one of the senior editors of the open-access journal Conservation & Society ( and co-author, together with Robert Fletcher, of ‘The Conservation Revolution: Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond The Anthropocene’, forthcoming with Verso in 2020.