Saturday, October 25, 2014

Neo-colonialism and the environmental movement

There's something disturbing about the anti-whaling movement and the way they are targeting the Japanese whaling fleet.

On one hand you have a ship or group of mainly white (Americans, Europeans, Australians) chasing after a Japanese ship because the  latter are killing (endangered) animals, e.g. whales.

The main reason they are doing this - as opposed to say... going after African, Russian poachers, etc.. is that the Japanese aren't going to shoot them or kill them (unintentionally). Try going into a jungle in African and confronting African or Indonesian poachers in the jungle with water bombs and see where that leads. And it also makes for good prime time tv publicity.

If you have any sense of historical perspective - the whole thing becomes a lot ... sadder. For hundreds of years, the Western powers - Spain, Britain, the Dutch, America have been exploiting, enslaving people of other races - Native American Indians, Aborigines, Africans, Filipinos, South Americans, Pacific Islanders, including Chinese (see the Coolie Trade) - as well as slaughtering entire animal species. All the wealth that the West has accumulated has been done largely through exploiting other people's lands and wealth. And now that they are top dog - they have the gall to sit on a high moral horse and dictate what other people do with their land or sea.

Of course the environmental movement has plenty of "moral" strength - but hey, the colonial powers, even America justified their march to dominance through similar moral minded values - ie. "bringing Civilization or Christianity to them".

Its all of course not all black and white. The West has done a lot of good as well. Modern medicine, modern education has done a lot of good as well.

But if I was in charge of the Greenpeace movement I'd be careful how I go about telling other people living in the third world or even Japan what to do with their animals.

Did you know that Japan wanted no part in the outside world? For over 100 years they were content to live in their own country, not venture out. But America then Europe sailed in and demanded by force of guns that Japan open up and modernize, and trade.

I'd advocate something a bit different - put a price on everything. If you value it, its worth something. If you think the forests of Sumatra or Borneo or Tasmania is worth preserving - pay more money than the Timber companies to preserve the land and pay the livelihood of the forestry workers, poachers to do something "respectable". Simply banning the trade and stopping the livelihood of people isn't going to work.

And above all - value education. Go and live in those countries you want the laws to change - make a positive difference to their lives. And bring about change that way. Don't try imposing your ideas onto other people by force of laws or guns.

No comments: