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[…] The people in Amazonia continue to have a higher level of direct dependence on nature for their sustenance. Even when they cultivate, it is with minimal external inputs. This is somewhat similar to the life of indigenous people in other localities (say like those in Papua Island in Asia or in parts of Africa), or to some extent, that of tribal population in India. What does development and modernisation mean to these communities and groups of people, is an interesting basis to reflect on development in general.
There are two undesirable and extreme positions in this regard. One is a mindless effort to integrate these people into the mainstream and industrialised world. This has been the attempt of not only colonialist extractors but also nationalist modernisers and serves the interests of a capitalist class which is interested in nothing but profits. Such a pursuit of development or modernisation would make these people, at the best, the lower-tier workers of an industrial production system. That may lead to the destruction of their natural endowments and knowledge valuable for humanity as a whole.
The other undesirable view is the glorification of the life of these nature-dependent communities which encourages sections of activists and intelligentsia to argue against all kinds of human development for such people. Those who hold such a view want to preserve the territories of such people like those earmarked for wildlife conservation. These scholars and activists neglect the internal conditions and challenges faced by nature-dependent people and their own aspirations for an improvement on certain aspects of their life. […]
There is a need to respect their aspirations, with an evolved understanding of human rights. Combining all these may not be an easy task but may require the presence of multiple discourses in public domain including the own articulations of these nature-dependent people.
The need to look into the life of these nature-dependent people is important for another reason too, when the global population is concerned about the sustainability of its dominant development path. Is it possible to have a happier life for the humanity as a whole without enhancing the material consumption of all to a level matching that in highly industrialised and developed countries? […]
Date accessed: 1 January 2018
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