Conservation is a word used very often these days. Terms like ecotourism, eco-friendly, green games and environmentally sustainable are some of the expressions that camouflage conservation repeatedly. But how do we actually describe ‘Conservation’. Well, according to me conservation is a process which involves the protection of the endangered milieu and management of resources without harming the other existing environment which is quiet hale and hearty for a sustainable future. Today conservation is frequently seen as a stockpile of self-centered and whimsical desires that may not look into the problems of the environment but surely after one’s self-interests. Suddenly it’s become a chore of all. We see an astonishing number of eco projects and contemporary schemes coming up nowadays. Is conservation really the motive behind such proposals? But before getting to that, let’s shed some light on the history of conservation.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of U.S.A. was one of the most primitive people to start conservation in 1887. He founded the Boone & Crockett Club. The major objectives of the club were to create hotspots like sanctuaries & safe havens to protect the constantly diminishing wildlife majorily due to poaching. Also, it thought of bringing about an upheaval in the culture of hunting to applaud the noble qualities of the chase above the animals killed. But the most remarkable fact about this club was that it was truly an elite club with all leading political, business and media figures of New York. Only people who had hunted at least three of America’s big game species could become its members.
This policy gave the club a huge influence that such men are shaping America’s wildlife by promoting new ethos who themselves were ignorant to the fortune of environment. So such were the strategies of the earlier established organizations that really looked up to working hard on the issue of conservation. The basic agenda was to build necessary political and public support which was only possible for a faithfully adopted concern. But the projects taken up today are turning out be more damaging to the environment which are resulting in dislocation and criminalizing of local people. These projects are created to rope in money by creating habitats that are people-free or believe that the tribal communities will harm the nature.

Tourism such as ecotourism is created by building artificial beaches, habitats that cause uprooting of trees, mangroves and displace a large number of people. They constitute a synthetic green environment to cash in money in the name of conservation. In order to create the so-called green environment, the existing environment is harmed. We build up eco parks, happily landscaping the area without paying attention to the consequences.

The most recent example of this is of UP CM Mayawati’s proposal to build Kanshi Ram Eco Park worth Rs 409cr and she has been allocated Rs 500cr. Also, a forest area in Ghaziabad was completely wiped out in order to develop an eco park called Sai Upvan over 200 acres at a cost of Rs.4 crore. The forest area had about 200,000 varieties of trees whereas so far 7,000 trees have been completely destroyed & about 30,000 have been meddled with. This all happened as a result of a hushed approval of an eco park. That’s not all.
Infact, so- called eco friendly toys & green board games like Head 1Liners are also coming into existence. The saddest part is the brains behind such games are of those manufacturers who have actually faced low turnover in the past and now resorting to such tactics to win over the global community by showcasing a green thought. Nothing is wrong in creating stuff that doesn’t harm the environment but using it as a marketing policy or political strategy will eventually lead to descend in the trust; people have for eco-friendly products. It will further weaken the will to contribute towards the environment when most required. So let’s not do that after all there are number of environmental issues that require a shocking amount of aid.
If we really hunt for conserving our natural environment we should take up real issues- Like ending the mining of conflict minerals. Conflict minerals such as tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold are used in gadgetry and jewellery. The mining of these minerals have brought contamination to Amazon and have dire consequences. Also, for the extraction of gold or tin from mining areas mercury is being used. Mercurial poisoning puts not only miners at risk, but any living creature exposed to the heavy metal in water or vapors. Companies like apple and dell make use of these electronically valuable resources. These have not only environmental impact but have led to inconsistency in Congo.

Electronic gadgets have become a vital part of our life today but we must not build them at cost of life of others. Why not demand & buy conflict (minerals)-free electronics or take up issues that really have an honest backing. Only a fairly adopted issue can help conservation pull off its original meaning.

Shelly Mahajan

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