In this episode we talk about the colonial and racist origins of the nature conservation movement in the US and how Indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands for the creation of national parks and protected areas across the globe. This concept of land-grabs and forceful evictions for biodiversity conservation, often referred to as "fortress conservation", continues until the present day.
In the second part of this episode we focus on racism and right-wing narratives in present day environmental groups and hear some practical advice how ecological initiatives can prevent far-right take over and oppose far-right narratives and ideology in their groups.
Dr. Prakash Kashwan (University of Connecticut)
Sophia (NGO Nature Friends - department radicalisation prevention and engagement in conservation)
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www.carolarackete.info for free access to bestseller "the time to act is now"
Music & Postproduction: Louisa Beck www.louisabeck.com
Artwork: Céline Keller celinekeller.com
Please note this transcript is auto-generated and not fully corrected.
Hello everyone, my name is Carola Rackete, I am a social justice activist and ecologist and I want to explore with you how the nature conservation movement can move towards social justice.
In today's episode of just nature we will be looking at some of the root problems of western-style nature conservation and which are colonialism and racism.
In order to make these claims about colonialism and racism more specific and help us understand the situation, we're going to hear from professor Prakash Kashwan about the founding of the conservation movement and how much of the old world view still is reflected in conservation nowadays.
We will also hear from Sophia who works for the German initiative FARN who focus on educating about present day right-wing involvement in environmental groups and political debates. She will share some practical advice on how environmental groups can confront and prevent engagement of the right-wing. So, let's get started.
Guest 1 Intro
So our first guest today on this podcast is Prakash Kashwan who is an associate professor of political science and co-director of the research program on economic and social rights at the human rights institute of the University Of Connecticut
He has written several books. For example, democracy in the woods. Environmental conservation and social justice in India Tanzania and Mexico he is the co-editor of The Journal Environmental Politics
co-founder of the climate justice network
and he is currently focused on policy for global conservation and teaching on the policy of environmental justice and climate justice. And I'm really happy he found time to share his wide experience with us.
So today we first want to talk a bit about the history of the conservation movement nowadays. Most people would think it's this hippie tree hugger issue but the history of the conservation movement in the US where it comes from is quite different. You have researched like quite a lot. What what was the origin of the conservation movement.
So the the old history of conservation is related quite closely to the history of settler colonialism in the US and the European colonization of Africa and parts of Asia. So colonialism is the main sort of link between the history of conservation and how particular groups within specific societies came to dominate the narratives of conservation. So colonizers whether it is settler colonials here in the us or elsewhere they had this notion of sort of you know, only white ah people and white male most of the times they could protect nature against the primitive people. Who they identified as indigenous people who you know lived in the forest and were like you know considered as as illiterate ignorant backward primitive savages. You know there are all of these different ah names that they used in their writings. And they call you know local people, indigenous people all sorts of names trying to sort of demean their existence and and try to write them out of the landscape so they imagine this pristine landscape that needed to be. Preserved and protected against local communities and these local communities often happen to be in business people or other rural communities who for generations have lived in those landscapes and they've lived. More or less historically speaking at least they've lived very happily with nature in a way that does not contribute to the degradation of of ecological systems or landscapes and environmental resources.
And then we have as you said mainly white males coming in and deciding that some of these areas where Indigenous people were always living needed to be preserved, particularly as National parks. So What did this creation of National Parks really look like what did it mean for Indigenous communities?
So that history is quite bloody so the the way in which colonialism intersects it intersected with conservation was one in terms of ideas about nature and other kinds of people who look different from the colonizers. That's when all of the notions of primitiveness and backwardness came in but the other part was the the brute force of colonizing forces that was unleashed. In these areas where Indigenous people were forcibly removed from these areas for both colonizing the land as well as for preserving parts of the colonized land. So the 2 processes of dispossession and displacement and sometimes, you know, brutal and and murderous campaigns of colonizing, they went hand hand in hand. And so you had in indigenous nations here in the us forcibly removed from the lands and territories that they had lived in for generations. And then those emptied out lands were conveniently labelled as vacant pristine landscape that the white men could could then conserve and and preserve similarly in the context of countries. In Asia and Africa European colonizers again created these national parks and wildlife reserves and used those areas for exploitation of natural resources for conducting research and for setting these areas aside as National parks and wildlife reserves so the the main impact was one dispossession and making indigenous people and local communities homeless driving them away putting them in the in reservations here in the us Canada and so forth and in many other places and. In parts of Asia and Africa where they could not completely drive people out. They created laws that literally categorized people being illegal in their own landscape. So the traditional territories that these people have called their home for generations. They suddenly. By a a fiat of the colonial law these lands became out of bound for them and these people were labelled as illegal encroaching in these lands.
Now some people might think that colonial times are over that was hundreds of years ago. Certainly that is not happening any more one would like to assume but in reality it's it's sadly, not the case. Just. As we speak for example in Tanzania about 70000 of Massai indigenous communities are um, facing eviction from Loliondo area for the creation of a new park or the extension of of a park. Could you. Speak a bit about the the current happenings of this um neo-colonial way of protected areas and um, how this history is is still alive and in which places.
Right? That's that's a great question. Um, so I will speak of 4 different things that maintain the colonial structures even today these 4 things are boundaries or you know enclosure of lands laws. Allocation of certain kinds of resources and the use of brute force. So let me go through them quickly 1 by 1 in most cases and this is really the interesting part which sort of belies. The the. You know both the colonial as well as the neo-colonial claims that poor countries cannot protect their their land and cannot protect their resources so in most cases, the boundaries of national parks and wildlife reserves that were set up. During the colonial era in some cases in late nineteenth century I think this is when some of the Loliondo wildlife reserves were set up either in the late nineteenth century or early early twentieth century first under the German colonial rule and then under the British. You know after the league of world powers and so those boundaries and those parks that were set up during the colonial times they are alive even today those boundaries and those enclosures exist as they were during the colonial times even now. Only they've gotten bigger now more and more areas have been added to those colonial reserves second the colonial powers set up laws about ah penalizing the existence or any kind of activity of local communities. Within wildlife reserves and national parks and those laws also exist in many places. Um, as as they were so you mentioned Tanzania a country that I've studied along with India and large parts of Africa and Asia in most countries. Local people continue to be penalized for environmental. Friendly use of local resources in terms of subsistence agriculture small scale game hunting and other kinds of use of of forests and other natural resources fisheries, water resources and. All of these are users that actually do not undermine environmental integrity. So these laws are purely colonial. There is no scientific basis for the continued existence of these laws second along with the boundaries reserves and laws. You have.
Big conservation NGOs from the US, Canada, Europe who continue to reinforce these boundaries and those exclusionary laws by investing in maintaining the status quo of colonial laws and colonial boundaries and finally all of this. Is is helpful but sometimes it still doesn't allow people to be thrown out or people to be stopped from making use of local resources in those cases these big conservation NGOs work with local government forestry agencies to use. Brute power. Ah, through militarization of conservation where forestry rangers have been supplied with automatic weapons. They've been given shoot at sight or shoot to kill powers which means that if somebody is seen merely seen standing in a wildlife reserves. They are presumed to be a poacher and they can be shot including shot dead in many cases without asking any questions. No arrest no criminal proceedings. No jurisdictional. Ah you know, legal proceedings or any kind of um, you know opportunity for for demanding justice and so forth. They can simply be shot dead just merely for being in in a particular land area that that has been declared as a national park or a wildlife reserve now remember these are the traditional territories of these communities. They've lived there in many cases. There are also laws that recognize these traditional land rights so both in Tanzania and India and in many other countries in Asia and Africa there are laws national laws constitutional laws which says that indigenous people. Have a right to exercise their land rights and their resource rights. But despite those laws these people continue to be labelled as encroachers as illegal and trespassers and are often shot at and sometimes shot dead through the use of brute force. So these are all of the resources that powerful big conservation NGOs and powerful government agencies in Africa and Asia they use to keep indigenous people traditional landowners out of these territories and penalize them. Many times fatally and brutally.
Yeah, Land rights of course are a huge huge issue here and of course this all depends on the local context but could you speak to what could help local communities to be officially recognized. With their land rights which they have and what could be the conditions which enable them to um, yeah, successfully ah live on these lands which they steward and at the same time. Also. Protect the biodiversity on on these lands.
So this is a really important question and we'll need to sort of talk about this in 2 parts First um, that is a near universal consensus now that protection of. Land rights of indigenous people. Ah local communities is necessary for any kind of protection and conservation of wildlife and biodiversity. So even the big conservation NGOs that I've been talking about they. On paper and in their statements and in their reports they um, valorize in business culture and in indigenous rights and they acknowledge that indigenous people have been good stewards of land. The problem is that they do too much of this kind of. Discursive sort of theoretical discussions and too little to change how they actually function on the ground. So as I said there are national laws that if the global conservation NGOs wanted to respect and also make sure that the government forestry agencies. That these big conservation NGOs are working with. They also respect the law of the land. So in many cases for example, ah, Buzzfeed recently did this investigation and will will provide a link um for your listeners. They. Investigated world wildlife fund WWF in multiple countries throughout the world and especially in Asia and Africa and they found gross human rights violation at the hands of the rangers who were being directly supported and funded by WWF. And in many cases WWF officers for years. They were made aware and they were they knew about these atrocities in some cases. Um you know violence tortures and in in some cases rape of women at the hands of park rangers. All of these things were known to WWF officers in those countries and in some cases even the central leadership but they did nothing and they continue to actually support these park rangers. So that's one part that the big conservation NGOs have to change. Um, you know, no sooner than now. Yeah I mean this should have changed ten years ago but there's absolutely no excuse for you know continuation of these kinds of practices and supporting these kinds of inhumane practices and by the way all of this is well documented by.
Ah, European council agencies and and German government agencies which we can you know share all of those documents. So these are not allegations. You know merely but they are proven records that have been put in public domain. There was recently a us congress hearing and they put lot of these records on. Congressional record. So that's another source where you can access those those resources. So so one part is that to go beyond this kind of celebration sort of you know, hollow celebration of indigenous culture and rights and to actually mean that and to actually. Bring that into the practice of conservation that is as it happens in practice. So that's the the laws part. Ah where you know you we take the discourses and yeah, actually make sure that we respect the laws of the land and if there are countries where where we don't have these laws. Then we should demand legally um, enforceable laws that protect the land rights and resource rights of indigenous and other local communities. The second part which is equally if not more important is to give up on this fantasy of pristine landscape. That need to be protected from local communities and against local communities and you know I say that this idea needs to be given up not just because it leads to recurrent and frequent ah violation of human rights. But also because. There is no evidence to suggest that in the long run these kinds of approaches actually produce conservation outcomes and again you know we can you know I'll share articles where we have linked all of these um evidences and and you know these kinds of arguments have been explained at great length. But big conservation NGOs need to give up on this notion of doing conservation by sitting in Washington d c or or Berlin or wherever they are and flying in to Africa or Asia you know from time to time in their in their um. Sort of the standard approach that is used by by global conservation groups instead of doing this kind of parachuting and trying to do a like centralized control of global conservation. They need to work with. Local indigenous communities and local farmers and local peasant communities who already have been using models of agricultural practices and models of resource stewardship that allow them to practice their land and resource rights.
Without actually undermining the integrity of the natural resources ecosystems and and and landscapes and again this is scientifically proven that these kinds of mixed land use practices are actually good for the environment. For example. Ah, you know I'm sure you and others have heard about these ongoing debates about the large-scale fires that have happened in California in Australia in the Amazon and again there's universal evidence to suggest that these fires happen because. 1 of the 2 reasons one because large scale ranching operations that are necessary for production of industrial scale beef and other kinds of industrial scale meat production for primarily for European and North American consumers that creates. You know that directly leads to these fires and in other cases where you have had exclusion of indigenous farmers and you know their interventions of small scale and controlled fire landscapes have become these tinder boxes because there has been no human intervention There's been no fire intervention. So when there is a small bit of fire. It. It becomes a catastrophic ah large scale landscape level fire and so now forestry agencies here in the us in in some other places are beginning to work with local indigenous communities. To learn from their practices of of managing fire and and introducing controlled fire in the landscape. Sometimes these fires are referred to as cultural fires but they're actually more than culture fires because these intervention of fire in the landscape was part of traditional. Agricultural practices and hunting practices of indigenous people here in North America as well as in other parts of the world.
So It seems like a lot a lot lot has to change in terms of policy but also critically about the big wildlife protection organizations. What could be the task of the general public like people who are not professionally working on this people are not in Academia. What can they do if they hear about this and they're outraged about the ah the abuses of indigenous people the land right? issues. What what could people. Maybe you have some closing remarks on that.
Right? So 1 thing that I've been arguing about for for over nearly a decade now is to ask questions to hold big conservation NGOs accountable for that action. It's just because. They are in the business of nature conservation or global conservation doesn't mean that they get to do whatever they like and so in that sense the actions of German government agencies as well as the us congressional hearings here are really important landmarks. Because those events show how big conservation NGOs can be held accountable. So that's one part and we should all wherever we are. We should be acting as sort of public watchdogs in a sense. Ah so that we demand accountability of big conservation NGOs That's 1 thing and second it's also important to remember that these big conservation NGOs they get lots of donations and and funding from middle class donors in North America and Europe so we really have to start. Creating mechanisms for just conservation and conservation that is absolutely not involved in human rights violations so we should only donate our money to big conservation NGOs who are able to show that. They have taken steps to curb the human rights violations and the systems of operation that exist in government agencies in in global south in particular and so I think as as people who contribute our own money to global conservation. We ought to be. Investing in right kind of places and making sure that our donations do not produce human rights violations in in Burundi or Indonesia or Nepal or anywhere else. For example, so I think that 2 2 big actions that. Average middle class individuals can take and then of course finally continue to work with government agencies both in global north and global south to make sure that they are also held accountable in whatever way. It's possible based on both international and national laws.
GUEST 2 INTRO
So this was a lot to take in and I assume quite a few of you might be wondering now how to contribute to changes and improve the situation, particularly if you are not deeply engaged in nature conservation. If you live in Europe, you are also unlikely to live in an area where people are still displaced for conservation. In the next episodes we will hear in more detail about human rights abuses connected to the conservation industry and also how solidarity groups have supported people affected by these abuses.
For the moment I thought we should look at the problem of racism in environmental groups from a very different angle which is the right-wing narratives and involvement in environmental groups today. In honesty I actually didn't want to invite somebody from a german ngo because I'm german myself and I thought we would want to cover a bit more diversity here but in the end I did decide to invite somebody from FARN, because I think the work of this organization is very practical and unique in this context.
FARN is actually not a stand-alone NGO, it is a project of the NGO Nature friends (Naturfreunde), which were founded in the end of the 20th century in Austria by working class people who wanted to enjoy the outdoors and the mountains which were until then mainly accessible to middle and upper class.
From the beginning the nature friends were engaged in class struggle, their numbers grew quickly, soon they owned their own communal mountain huts not only in Austria, but also in Germany. However, due to their political engagement the nature friends were forbidden by the German Nazis in 1933 and only after the end of the German Reich the group could start up their activities again. There is also a lot to be said about Nazi Germany and its relationship to nature, the ideation of peasant society and the blood and soil ideology and how Nazis have shaped German nature conservation law, but for now lets turn to the present day activities of the nature friends.
Today Nature friends are not only making the outdoors more accessible to the public by providing education and sport courses or promoting low-consumption lifestyle, they also engage politically for climate justice and for the peace movement. Due to their history nature friends are particularly aware of the threats of right wing engagement in nature conservation groups and politics and therefore have founded FARN in 2017 to address this specifically.
Now, we will speak to Sophia who studied social and political science and is currently doing a masters on sustainable resource management and she is also politically engaged in the international young friends of nature and she is a trainer for Farn.
So the big question when we hear is quite complicated abbreviation: What is FARN actually doing?
FARN is an organization, a joint organization from the nature of friends and the young nature friends, which both are organizations in Germany but do also have international organizations and this joint institution has the aim to identify right-wing ideologies in nature protection. So this is what we're basically doing by trying to identify these narratives and then to tell in in our educational work other people how they can be aware of these narratives. So yeah, basically we're doing research and we're giving like a lot of workshops and presentations for other people in order to raise awareness and to sensitize for right-wing ideas.
I think a lot of people would normally think that in Europe for example that environment nature is a progressive or left topic but can you tell us a bit more about Right-wing in concern to environment. How organized is the right wing, is the far right in and terms of the environment. I mean in the context where you're working with is mainly German-speaking countries.
Yeah, this is a really good question and I would say that it depends on the right-wing group. How good they are organized but generally I would say that they are quite well organized when it when it comes to environmental protection and that it already has a really long tradition and this is I guess also really interesting point because if we if we go back for example on on the timeline already Nazi Germany had their proper ideas on how to organize nature protection and for example, during that time the very first law on nature protection was passed. And it was actually an expression of the blood and soil ideology and shows how structurally deep ideas of right-wingers have been implemented when it came to environmental issues. So I mean of course it had also before Nazi-Germany there had been already a tradition to connect homeland protection and very conservative conservative ideas with nature protection but it has a long tradition. But of course there exist more recent examples that prove how well right-wingers can be organized when it comes to environmental issues. So I guess there are really lot of different groups such as parties or settlers or youth organizations and within these groups they are quite good connected and have a good exchange. A really interesting example how good they can be organized is the Anastasia movement and this movement is based on the Russian book series and it is really like anti-Semitic racist and sexist ideologies. And what is shocking is that this movement is like not only in Germany but also in Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine or Austria and that they are mixing new age ideas with esotericism and really back to nature approach and has really racist and anti-Semitic elements. What this movement is trying to do is that they infiltrate small communities and that they are trying to propagate their ideologies in in these villages by going there to schools board groups or local NGOs and trying to attract the people living there so this infiltration strategy is quite well organized and is a really good example that one right-winger doesn't come alone and even though maybe like it's not only a settlement movement. It's also an idea which is promoted on social media and a really interesting example for this is Anastasia movement book which has more than 40000 followers on telegram and this shows for me that even though maybe some groups are not centrally organized. There is at least a pretty good connection in exchange.
Can you tell me a bit more like in terms of narratives. Can anyone identify or name any particular narratives that the write is using to connect to people interested in nature conservation or common stories that they tell.
I will name some common narratives but beforehand I'd like to tell a little story, a little anecdote about our work from FARN. What I mean I said already what we're basically doing is giving workshops. And when we're giving workshops we work with quotes from right-wingers on the topics of environmental issues and then we ask the participants if they think this quote is rather from an environmentalist or rather from a right-wing person and what usually happens is that the participants classify a great part of the quotes as quotes from environmentalists and when we then explain that this or that quote originates from a right-winger the participants are quite shocked sometimes and I'm telling this beforehand just to make clear that it's sometimes also hard to identify these narratives when for example the author is not really popular or that when the context is unknown and so this is why we also try to sensitize people for these little keywords that make it easier to identify these narratives and I guess some narrators that.
Yeah, yeah for sure like ah 1 really interesting thing is the assumption of a natural connection between land and the people having been born on a certain land and this is called like geo-determinism. And it's the core the really core concept of right-wingers and this is so problematic because it excludes people who haven't been born in a certain country and so it's anti-migrant and racist as people from other places are denied their right of residence in a certain country or place and I would say some maybe some practical hints to identify this narrative keywords to identify it really are homeland, homeland protection, routeage or nation I would say and another really like another really common narrative they use is about overpopulation. And there it's argued that due to the limits of growth and the exploitation of resources the world population must be constrained in order to avoid this overpopulation and this is also problematic because behind this narrative there is an anti-feminist and racist ideology. It's anti-feminist because the right of self-determination of women is denied and racist because the demanded controls of birth should take place in the global south. So yeah, it's it's the idea of we have they do exist too many people and they should stay where they are and to identify these narratives maybe some hints would be when people are talking about “too many of us” overpopulation when they demand control of birth migration and in that context they demand border control. So. This would be in my opinion some keywords that can give you like a small hint or something might be wrong in this conversation and maybe one last concept that is really strongly connected to to the blood and soil ideology I mentioned beforehand is Ethno-pluralism. So this is a concept used by newly right groups such? As for example, the Identitarian movement and there it's argued that nature created a diversity of human beings but this diversity shouldn't get mixed up because otherwise unification would happen. And therefore they're emphasizing the right of existence of every culture as long as every culture stays in their foreseen area or territory. So actually this concept denies every kind of diversity within the society and this also against migration because it would be against the late laws of nature. So I think these are the most common narratives I would say when we talk where yeah when when we're identifying together the quotes in the workshops of harm.
Yeah, thank you for laying that out I have to say I often really struggle when I see ecologists or environmentalists who are advocating for population control and they're like super famous people who are doing that. Um. Mostly known of course David Attenborough, Jane Goodall other people like that for who are for example, like board members of an organization called population matters and have been since years really focused on this supposed overpopulation instead of like talking about the incredible high consumption which global North. Communities have of courses differences within the population as well. But just generally speaking the destruction of the planet of course that we're seeing is rooted on the consumption of of the global North population. But. To to stay focused on these kind of practical issues for for listeners. Let's say because I guess sooner or later if we are part of an environmentally oriented group and talking to other people as well. We will encounter people who believe in in some of these. Things or um or we even might have a right wing. Ah like really coming into our community or yeah into our group or is the really determination to to spread the narratives like what recommendation does find. You have for groups that are encountering um such people.
This is like this is a really interesting question and I don't have like the really one right answer for this because um, there is not the 1 strategy to apply when it comes to these situations and I mean it also depends really strongly on the context, on the situation. So is it only 1 person, is it the whole group trying to infiltrate another group and of course the place did it happen online, offline for example and depending on on this context, you might choose another strategy but I'm trying to give some recommendations now. First of all is just to show your attitude like really name the problem and say that this that the certain statement has a right-winged ideology behind or that a certain statement is discriminant or racist or whatever. So don't be shy to to show your attitude and to say well something is wrong here. We have to name it. And if a conversation is possible. You should really try to insist on a concrete topic and to avoid jumping between topics and you should really ask critical and precise questions and also ask for concrete examples because hopefully then you might be able to narrow the racist content down to a non-scientific assumption. And once you have reached to that point in the conversation you can explain the other person why these assumptions are not compatible with the values of your group but this would be somehow like the best case scenario and if a conversation is not possible there do exist other strategies to handle right-wing narratives in the context of your group and this might be for example at least for Germany I know that there exist advisory centers where you can go and they have a really good consultation offer and that there are experts helping you to develop a strategy for the specific situation situation. Also like this depends on the legal rules of your association. But you really should consider to exclude members with right-winged ideas from your group and just to end their memberships. And another really important point is to provide public statements. For example, after attempts of infiltration or the exclusion of members it's it's really important to find a transparent way to handle with the situation. You could do it through a press release where you can emphasize your democratic values again or to give an interview or whatever but to make really in a transparent way clear that there's no space for right-wingers within your group. And last but not least I think it's super important to show to show your attitude and to to make here that you're you're not going along with certain things. But you also should consider or keep your physical and mental borders in mind and to evaluate the situation properly in order not to put yourself in dangerous situations.
Thank you I think that's very useful advice I'm actually really great to hear that at least in Germany there is really like help to be gotten from specialized people. But I'm wondering also like what a group could do who's interested in the environment generally. Maybe a citizen initiative or some something like that and what could be done pre-emptively to avoid such an infiltration or to avoid people joining with. Ah, sort of narratives is there is this something that you would recommend that groups could do.
There there do exist measures you can take just to keep right-wingers away from your group. And first of all I I would say the most important thing first of all is to understand and to note that ecological perspectives aren't automatically connected to left ideas. This is what yours what you said when you hear like really popular environmentalists talking about overpopulation. For example. Being an environmentalist doesn't mean that you automatically have left ideas so this is for me the very first step if you want to prevent that right-wingers infiltrate your group or something in that direction happens. And some concrete measures would be to develop some guiding principles for your group or your NGO or however you're going to be organized and that means that you should discuss and determine your values that go hand in hand with your engagement so which values are your common ground and which positions are not tolerable and that you when you discuss these values. You should be aware that ecological themes are connected to global and especially also to social context. Because nature protection is always political and therefore also social and ecological dimensions must be thought together. So I guess the first like the second step then would be to develop positions also with regard to society. And then this is also what I mentioned beforehand is to establish safeguards within the legal framework of the group that makes it possible to exclude members in case of the violation of the values of the group. A really practical hint but can be useful, and on the other side you shouldn't limit the engagement of of the group to only ecological activities. For example, you you can set an example by contributing to a democratic and diverse culture through collaborations with other civil organizations. Because if your group actively affirms and fights for social diversity the group can automatically keep right-wingers away because it makes an involvement of right-wingers as and as an unattractive as possible. And like last hint I would say is to do research, I mean it sounds really obvious but it could happen that you receive for example from an unknown group a request for collaboration or they ask if they could use your facilities. For example, if you're a bigger group and in Germany this happens with the scouts. For example that there was and a really wide-winged group that asked the scouts to use their houses for one weekend. And the scouts didn't knew that this group was so right-wing because it was unknown and they had their proper website pretending to be a sport association. So it's it's really important to do to double check unknown groups and search for example for names. It sounds stupid but if you had have a bad feeling because the group is unknown then it's more than important to do a proper research on which group is it. Have a phone call beforehand or whatever. But this would be important as well for a really special case of course, but this happened also in the past already
I Hope that this episode of just nature has been insightful and also practically useful.
Some tips that we can take away from our guests are
-to hold big conservation NGOs accountable by applying public scrutiny and making sure our donations are going to groups and organisations that operate transparently,
-work with or ideally are led by local communities and therefore benefit both people and ecosystems.
-In terms of our own environmental groups we should set them up in a way that makes them unatrractive to right wing involvmenet from the start, for example by openly supporting other justice causes. We should also educate our membership about the right-wing narratives, exposing and discussing right-wing ideology and transparently excluding such people from our groups.