Publication update 12: Indigenous rights matter!

Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement scheme in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

There was a time when people used to think that saving the environment was all about – well, the environment. Some people even confused it with ‘saving the trees’, ‘saving the animals’, or ‘saving wildlife’. Many conservationists nowadays know better. We’ve learnt that the environment has been shaped and nurtured by the many indigenous and local people who revere it, care for it and ultimately depend on its resources for their survival. Focusing on saving the environment, or wildlife, alone is meaningless if we don’t take into account the forest-dependent or sea-dependent peoples who are critical in ensuring nature’s well-being – and for whom, in turn, nature is a critical part of their lives. Sometimes they can be a part of the problem, but often they can be part of the solution too. This is why more conservationists need to start recognising the important role played by indigenous peoples in conservation, and also start considering and incorporating indigenous peoples in conservation efforts. Continue reading