Top critical review
An out-dated, unrealistic assessment of conservation and the natural world
6 October 2018
EO Wilson has produced seminal work in ecology, particularly in his study of ants. However, his proposal for the future of conservation is not only completely unworkable, but also fails to recognise the social and ethical aspects of conservation. The western attitude to conservation, largely shaped by white men, has deep roots in colonialism. In today's society it is hard to justify an old white man decreeing that people around the world should be removed from their land so that it can be designated a nature reserve.
In Europe, 'pristine nature' doesn't exist; humans have been altering ecosystems for millennia. Even if we could displace millions of people from their land in order to create vast nature reserves, this wouldn't leave 'natural' habitats or high levels of biodiversity.