We are currently in the midst of what is commonly referred to as the world’s worst refugee crisis in history, with at least 22 armed conflicts and an estimated 68.5 million forcefully displaced people worldwide. These clashes and forced migration result in millions of deaths, severe traumas and extreme poverty for millions more. Slavery is still common in many places around the world. States of the Global North are less and less welcoming to deprived migrants, while their economies remain largely based on arms trade and therefore on the continuity of these wars.
Most of these social crises are connected to environmental issues in one way or another, and even more so to Neoliberalism, and to our consumption choices. For example, young children are being worked as slaves in Congolese cobalt mines, extracting minerals used to make smartphones and electric cars. These mines also put extreme pressure on local fauna, including great apes. Several of the conflicts in Africa are funded through the exploitation of natural resources such as oil, diamonds, timber and minerals, resources used mainly by the Global North.
Climate change is often used to explain the growing violence. However, Political Ecology, Political Economy and Social History researches on the connections between climate change and armed conflicts conclude otherwise. Although they all agree that climate change is real and is directly related to human activities, they conclude that there is weak or no evidence pointing to a direct relationship between climate change related phenomena, such as short term warming, droughts or floods, and armed conflicts. However, there is strong evidence that climate change mitigation strategies, like REDD projects, biofuels and externally funded food security programs, do create and aggravate social conflicts. These findings are comparable with our claims that economically based solutions promoted by mainstream conservation are damaging to both nature and wildlife. You can find more information about the connection between the refugees crisis and the environment HERE.
We at Reclaim Conservation believe that social and environmental crises are directly connected, and both local people and biodiversity are the victims of current economic systems and wrong solutions. Therefore we believe that all victims deserve help.
Aniye is a new movement founded by Noga Shanee of Reclaim Conservation which aims to help African refugees in Uganda. Aniye means ‘we have come’ in the Zande language of South Sudan. It is a new, inclusive grassroots movement of refugees and international volunteers who want to make a difference. Their traveling school project works from the grassroots level, to reach every community they are invited to, share their knowledge and expertise and encourage refugees to organize, initiate, improve their lives and hopefully learn to defend themselves and the environment.
We invite you to find out more about Aniye’s work HERE.