The struggle to provide funding to sustain the planet has been going on for many years. In the 1990’s as well as in recent years, there has been an increase in awareness of the affect humans have had on the survival of many different species. This has led to government organizations unfairly claiming money from citizens of the United States to fund said efforts, and some people listen and seem to give what they can. The first group of people who should pay attention to the information presented should be those primarily affected by this issue. The communities who are considered disadvantaged, because those communities are the ones who are pushed aside when the government is deciding on project goals. The next group who should pay attention to the information should be government officials themselves. Government officials such as governors, senators and house representatives, who oversee preservation projects and the citizens within their jurisdiction, should consider everyone regardless of social status. Those same officials should be the ones trusted to help improve the quality of life for all their citizens. There is another group of people who should bear this information in mind and those are the wealthier communities. The issue at hand could influence the way they perceive conservation efforts and possibly influence their own efforts because they will question where the funding goes, as well as being able to understand that their actions can help those in lower classes being unfairly taken advantage of because of their lack of income. The issue of a lack of proper funding distribution and being incapable of tracking where all of the money goes should be fixed by making a compulsory donation fund where everyone has to pay a fair and equal amount to ensure funding conservation efforts are still able to function as well as getting rid of the inequalities and minimizing the hardships of maintaining those groups on all citizens.
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There has been record of inequities of funding going to communities of different social classes, however, those differences have not been significant enough to propose a true issue of prejudice, as well as there being evidence supporting equally distributed funding for different projects. As Scientific Researchers, I. Davies and colleagues revealed, “block groups with a $50,000 median income have a 1.5% greater probability of receiving a grant than those with a $150,000 median income” (8). This means that the lower median income was given a greater probability to receive assistance for funding projects. For some communities there was no evidence of significant differences between funded and unfunded communities (Davies, et al. 8). In some of the projects, some considered the lower income class communities to be and obligation to funding. This condition guarantees the lower socio-economic classes funding, while potentially neglecting other projects set in wealthier class areas. The money is also shown being used to help species where it is needed such as suggested by Ornithologist, S. Morrison and colleagues, “the island scrub-jay is susceptible to a number of classic population problems. It is subject to the vulnerabilities inherent in small, restricted populations, as well as to those of island endemic species generally” (1015).
People from all different socio-economic backgrounds may donate, and that includes the lower class and people from that background may get some advantages in some respects, but those conditions are not always guaranteed. The true destination of all that money that lower socio-economic classes had given to conservation organizations is not guaranteed either. There has been evidence of funding being given in favor of the wealthier communities, despite it coming from the lower classes. One example comes from a survey that states “funding for coastal protection and stare parks under chapters seven and eight went towards the wealthier areas. Within the subset of only coastal block groups, chapter seven went to those with lower median household income on average, though still higher than the average across for block groups across the state” (Davies, et al. 9). Competitive grants often favor communities with more economic and social capital as well as the ability to make stronger and more professional proposals (Davies et al. 10).
The fact that not all funding goes towards what would be beneficial for the greater good of the communities may lead to a lack of urgency for action from those in wealthier communities. Despite business shareholders being immune to negative impacts, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, E. McCreless and colleagues found it is true that, “many of conservation’s negative impacts on people range from poorly implemented compensation or resettlement programs to the capture of ecotourism resources by local elites” (5).part of the population may also have more conservative views when it comes to conservation efforts and the issues involving climate change. Professor at the School of Environment and Society, G. Wilson and colleagues suggested these stereotypically non-progressive stances can lead to the different communities seeking out to help such programs based on the ecosystems’ right to live as a reason alone, even if they can (1).
The opportunities for the lower classes to have an equal amount of representation is also lacking, thus less efforts being put forth towards solutions proposed by these conservation organizations. Furthermore, the higher classes have always had the upper hand in most situations, including in trying to preserve and restore the planet and since “equity historically has not been a focus of these conservation groups, it may come as little surprise that most chapters of Proposition 84 did not contain precise language directing money toward lower income communities or communities deprived of nature opportunities” (Davies, et al.11). As mentioned previously, since grants typically favor more professional proposals, one question that has been raised is if lower socio-economic communities were even submitting proposals or were even being reviewed professionally (Davies et al. 11). In a literature review done by professor of Environmental Law, A. Bartholomew stated that in Pakistan, there is a species of goat called the “straight-horned markhor that was being overly hunted by trophy hunters, therefore being placed on the endangered species list. After a few years, in about 1999, the markhor populations had increased enough to where locals felt that they could remove that title. Later that year, a local Pakistani conservationist filed a petition with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) requesting the straight-horned markhor be reclassified from endangered to threatened” (15). After an eleven-year delay, the FWS failed to respond to the request until around a decade later, a new petition was created.
The results from the various resources did not completely support the initial claim of inequality within conservation groups and how government officials would determine the placement of the funding. There was evidence that had shown in some cases that economically disadvantaged communities were obligated to receive funding, seemingly being prioritized over other communities. Other research experiments showed results of communities also receiving one hundred percent fair distribution of money going towards each of their projects, whether it be ensuring clean water for the community or the maintenance of an already existing park. Results from other studies also suggested that due to a few reasons, lower socio-economic communities were being neglected when it came to some aspects for funding, and that even included trying to create a proper proposal to gain funding grants in the first place. The biggest issue seen in the plethora of studies was not whether the economically disadvantaged communities were getting funding whatsoever, but the issue was the inconsistency of these communities getting the assistance that was needed. The lack of consistency within the funding budgets for these communities shows a lack of professionalism and an inconsistency in what officials are really striving for in their position. If governing officials truly cared for the people that got them into office in the first place, one would think those officials would put in 100% effort to help preserve what is essential to their country’s survival, regardless of how much money citizens make in a certain region.
Throughout these studies, there were multiple conclusions drawn from what impact the conservation movement has had on economically disadvantaged communities. One trend that was mentioned that stuck out the most that has quite possibly proposed the biggest issue is the lack of consistency for making an equal ground for all communities to participate without being worried about not being included in the solutions, nor given proper credit for their efforts. Another issue that was mentioned in the results was the lack of consistency in funding for different communities for different projects. The way that our country is going, the issues of conservation and preserving what is left is not a subject that should be taken lightly, but at the present moment seems to not be considered of much importance, and the lack of urgency coming from the government does not shed light onto a positive future. One possible solution for being able to try and ensure equity in efforts going to these organizations is creating a separate sect where there will be a set amount every class has to donate. This would be calculated by using a census of all incomes in a specific region to find a fair median, and this would not only ensure equal opportunities for the lower classes, but it would also keep the imbalance from shifting from one side of the spectrum to the other and targeting the wealthier side of the communities. This system of calculating the compulsory amount would be updated annually by government officials to ensure consistent accuracy. Keeping track of the donations coming in would also be easier to budget, thus also hopefully alleviating the issue of unequal distribution of the funding to different projects so everyone’s communities can have an opportunity to improve.
- Bartholomew, Andrew. “Budgetary Scapegoat: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Inefficiency on Trial in Conservation Force v. Jewell.” 42 B.C. Environmental. Affiliation. L. Rev. 14, vol. 42, no. 3, Apr. 2015, pp. 14-27. Academic Search Complete, eds.b.ebscohost.com.db02.linccweb.org.
- Davies, Ian P., et al. “Assessing the Flow to Low-Income urban areas of Conservation and Environmental Funds Approved by California’s Proposition 84.” PLOSONE, vol.14, no. 2, Feb. 2019, pp. 1-14. Academic Search Complete, eds.b.ebscohost.com.db02.linccweb.org.
- McCreless, Erin, et al. “Cheap and Nasty? The Potential Perils of Using Management Costs to Identify Global Conservation Priorities.” PLOSONE vol. 8, no. 11, Nov. 2013, pp. 1-12. Academic Search Complete, eds.a.ebscohost.com.db02.linccweb.org.
- Morrison, Scott A., et al. “Proactive Conservation Management of an Island-endemic Bird Species in the Face of Global Change.” Bioscience Mag, vol. 26, no. 12, Dec. 2011, pp. 1013-1021. Academic Search Complete, eds.b.ebscohost.com.db02.linccweb.org.
- Wilson, George R., et al. “Market-Based Incentives and Private Ownership of Wildlife to Remedy Shortfalls in Government Funding for Conservation.” Conservation Letters, vol. 10, no. 4, Jul. 2017, pp. 484-492. Academic Search Complete, eds.a.ebscohost.com.db02.linccweb.org.
Audience: the first group of people who should pay attention to the information presented should be those primarily affected by this issue at hand. The communities who are considered disadvantaged, because those communities are the ones who tend to be pushed aside when the government is deciding on project goals. The next group who should pay attention to the information should be governing officials themselves. The people who oversee preserving the environment and those citizens within their jurisdiction should take into account everyone regardless of social status. Those same officials should be the ones trusted to help improve the quality of life for all their citizens. There is another group of people who should bear this information in mind, those are the wealthier communities. The issue at hand could influence the way they perceive conservation efforts and possibly their own efforts because they will question where that money really ends up.
Subject: funding for conservation projects in different communities.
Purpose: that funding must be given to organizations in a more just way to ensure the ability to function yet be equitable for everyone.
Issue: people of the lower class are making efforts to donate money to benefit their community, however the money is not always used to meet their needs nor for the greater good.