Simone Schlindwein of “taz” investigated Africa from January 2019 to March 2020 and then wrote the book “The Green War. How nature is protected in Africa at the expense of people and what the West has to do with it.” This is the rigorous means by which the goal set at the 2022 international conference on biodiversity in Montreal of protecting 30 percent of the earth's surface. be implemented place.

Even then, there were massive protests by those affected who opposed the goal of banning entry into wild areas that needed to be protected. “Removing some of the world's poorest communities from their fertile farmland and placing it under conservation inevitably leads to conflict,” Schlindwein writes in his moving book.

The national parks are heavily guarded, with heavily armed people who do not shy away from using armed force against locals. There have also been deaths. In the German-funded Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, park rangers carried out targeted terrorist operations against the Batwa ethnic group to eventually drive them out of their forest.

“Development cooperation”: when greens are more important to greens than people

“Their villages were burned, children died in the flames, women were raped, by the same forest guards whose salaries were supplemented by German tax money,” reports Schlindwein. A Congolese human rights lawyer told the author: “We see more and more that rangers treat people like animals, and animals in the Congo are better protected than us humans.”

In Germany this is called “development cooperation” or “fight against climate change” and “for biodiversity”.

Understandably, emotions run especially high when it comes to elephants. Botswana decided to allow elephant hunting again in May 2019. The government's argument: Botswana's elephant population is not in danger; On the contrary: the number of animals has more than doubled in the last 30 years.

Extreme drought led to increasing conflicts between wildlife and people over food and water sources. “To prevent the animals from dying of hunger and thirst, tons of feed and water had to be brought to Zimbabwe's national parks, while the people around them received no help,” Schlindwein writes. “The Botswana government, on the other hand, wanted to improve the situation of the population and decimate the animals,” also to generate income from regulated hunting licenses.

Ban on hunting trophies: “It's very easy to sit in Berlin and give your opinion on our affairs”

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is now rushing and wants to limit or, if possible, ban the import of hunting trophies from Africa to protect elephants.

A project that I like at first because I am also in favor of animal protection and I haven't eaten meat for 20 years.

Of course, there is also another perspective: Botswana's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has now announced that he wants to give Germany 20,000 elephants. His argument: The fact that Lemke wants to ban the import of trophies encourages poverty and poaching in his country, according to Masisi.

Hunting is also a means of controlling populations. After decades of species protection, the country suffers from an “overpopulation” of elephants. People would be trampled to death, villages would be devastated, and crops destroyed.

“It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion on our affairs in Botswana. “We are paying the price to preserve these animals for the world,” said President Masisi. He wants “Mrs. Lemke to take the time to accept the facts and the science.” In his opinion, the Greens look at Botswana “with contempt” and are “fundamentalists acting out of ideology.”

Little knowledge, many opinions: a book recommendation for Minister Lemke

Botswana, Masisi said, has already gifted 8,000 elephants from the Kavango-Zambezi transboundary protected area to Angola, while Mozambique has yet to collect its contingent. “And we would like to make that offer to the Federal Republic of Germany. “We don’t take no for an answer.”

However, Lemke is unlikely to be swayed by the African president's arguments. Little knowledge, much opinion, firmly anchored in the belief in moral superiority, is ultimately the hallmark of the Greens.

Perhaps the Minister of the Environment will read the book by the committed “taz” editor, who in principle is probably politically close to her, but who first did extensive research before forming an opinion.

The book would also be recommended to the Minister of Development, Svenja Schulze, who would know the consequences, often fatal, that the so-called “development cooperation” has for the population of the affected countries.

Rainer Zitelmann is a historian and sociologist. His book: “A Capitalist's World Tour” will be published in May. In search of the causes of poverty and wealth.

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