Energy

Enviros Evicting Native Tribes To Fight Global Warming

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Environmentalists are evicting native tribes in third world countries in the name of saving the environment, according to reports.

“Governments are accessing wealthy conservation groups based in the U.S. and Europe to take advantage of the billions of pounds of conservation money being offered by global banks, northern governments and foundations for climate change and biodiversity protection,” according to a Sunday article in The Guardian.

In order to make room for conservation-oriented eco-tourism and other anti-global warming confabs, local governments are using green rhetoric as a pretext to abuse some of the poorest people in the world. The Guardian discovered several dozen cases of human rights abuses in central Africa executed in the name of global warming and with financially support from the U.S. and E.U.

“This illustrates the extent to which conservation, biodiversity and global warming are campaigns by the rich against the poor,” Dr. Terry Anderson, a senior fellow and economist at the free-market Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The same people who support these causes bemoan environmental injustice, but all of these are clear cases of environmental injustice at the hands of Big Government.”

Environmental groups have paid for and convinced governments to evict native tribes from their land in Tanzania, India, Cameroon, Thailand, Kenya, Bangladesh, Botswana, Mongolia, Chile and other countries. Western governments and non-profits have continued pouring money into environmental programs in these countries, even though the recipient governments are not abiding by international laws to prevent evictions.

“Governments like conservation because there is a lot of money in it. It brings money from the Global Environment Facility and elsewhere. But when your economic priority is to generate money from conservation, you want to get rid of people from these protected areas. That is what is now happening,” Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, told The Guardian.

Extinguishing private property could even be realistically stated as an aim of the UN itself. “It should be noted that in some countries, constitutional restrictions can make regulatory approaches to biodiversity conservation difficult. One frequently occurring constitutional provision that may cause difficulty is a guarantee against deprivation, or acquisition, or taking of property without compensation,” says the UN’s Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA).

Thousands of tribesmen in India were forcibly evicted from a tiger reserve, even though they do not hunt tigers and have lived there for centuries. Financial support, equipment and training for the evictions came directly from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the international name of the U.S. World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s largest conservation group. WWF’s India director refused to condemn the evictions the undercover investigation exposed.

WWF also directly funds “ecoguards” in Cameroon, who have arrested, abused and evicted the native “Pygmies” from their ancestral forests so they could be turned into environmental preserves. WWF provides Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Fauna, which conducted the evictions, with financial technical, logistical and material assistance

In 2009, for example, the government of Tanzania burned more than 200 homes and evicted 3,000 people to establish an animal preservation area near a national park. Some local women may have been raped and severely beaten during the evictions. The royal family of the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.-based Friedkin Conservation Fund spent $2 billion to support the Tanzania conservation efforts.

Botswana’s government evicted thousands of bushmen in the Kalahari desert because they were a threat to wildlife. Part 0f the funding for the eviction came from the United for Wildlife consortium of conservation organizations

All of these governments received substantial financial support from green groups to protect the environment. Bans on hunting and mining done in light of conservation programs often kill the only industries where native tribes can find jobs, making it economically impossible to stay on ancestral tribal lands, The Guardian reports.

A similar process is playing out in the U.S., where the federal government repeatedly shut down attempts by Indian tribes to access the energy wealth of their land.

“Many of the conservation issues at stake in the developing world are similar to the way the federal government has taken Indian land for conservation,” Anderson told TheDCNF. “The Blackfoot reservation in Montana was nearly twice as large as it is today before we took half of it to help create Glacier National Park.”

Indian reservation lands have the potential to produce a vast array of wealth that could enrich tribes by $75 billion annually, according to a study by PERC. Due to federal agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management, roughly 86 percent of Indian lands with energy or mineral potential remain undeveloped. The bureaucracy costs the average Native American reservation resident $12,145 in lost revenue annually, according to an academic economic analysis published in January.

Over 20 percent of American Indian households on reservations made less than $5,000 annually in 2013, compared to six percent of the general U.S. population.

“Federal programs have expanded beyond more conservation to dealing with global warming, which has pitted tribe against tribe in the name of stopping fossil fuel development,” Anderson continued. “The Crow tribe in Montana has billions of dollars worth of coal that it has had trouble using due to federal interference … the chairman of the Crow tribe actually said that ‘President Obama’s war on coal is a war on my people.”

The Crow tribe has an unemployment rate of over 30 percent and a poverty rate above 40 percent. Roughly 20 percent of the region’s economic output and eight percent of the worker pay in the region comes from a single coal mine, according to a study published by Harvard University. The Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota has the lowest per capita income of any group in America, averaging a mere $4,043 annually.

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