Conservation and the human cost...

January 18, 2012

As a “conservationist”, I am constantly worried about human encroachment, and when I visited Pulicat Lake, near Chennai, I was happy that the backwaters had been preserved as a bird sanctuary.

But just now, a post on a mailing list I belong to, made me think. Here’s what had to say:

Pulicat Lake, India, a glorious mammoth brackish water bio-preserve is a deliberate economic dead zone thanks to the high profile rocket center at Sriharikota only ~15 kilometers away. It’s cheaper to keep away prying eyes through poverty; an economic firebreak that claims a few villages for the greater good of the nation.

India for all its democratic noises is a fascist colonial power when it uses the institutions of state power to expand its aura at the high table while consigning the lives of the 3 villages in the lake shore to stunted growth. I’d like environmentalists and scientists alike to consider that sometimes their pet causes can come at a great cost. If this place were not an economic dead zone this man and the people of the neighboring villages would have a way of reclaiming their lives.

Yes, I do wonder now, what is the human cost of conservation….