I was fortunate to visit the iconic plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, one of the world's most famous wildlife destinations best known for its annual wildebeest migration - which was also my reason to travel there.
Serengeti has been home to the Maasai people for centuries, who graze their cattle in the rhythm of the seasons just like wildebeest and zebras do. Also, Serengeti is driven by the Maa language, which means endless plains. There is a saying that Serengeti will permanently change you, and I agree. It makes you think more about nature conservation and our future on Earth.
We need to take care of and respect nature, but the roots of the current nature conservation lie in ethnocentric and partly colonialistic thinking. What do we mean by going into "wilderness"? Is nature something separated from humans? When did we start to observe nature as "wild" or something that we need to go out to see and visit?
This question is more than accurate today as an international movement calls for at least half of the Earth to be allocated for conservation to avoid widespread biodiversity decline by 2050. It may sound good but wait a second. Where did we forget people?
Indigenous people don't call their lands wilderness - they call it home. They are the people who have coexisted with wildlife for millenniums and who know best to conserve the local biodiversity. Secondly, most indigenous people living in a balance with nature are not responsible for climate change and loss of biodiversity as their consumption levels are minimal. Indigenous people have cared for animals, plants, and their habitats because they live from it, not by exploiting or fencing off nature.
Their in-depth wisdom can help us to find new drugs from plants and bring back a connection to nature that many people have lost in modern Western society. Why people who are the best nature stewards are being excluded from protecting nature?
More and more indigenous people are struggling to survive in their native lands globally. Privatizing land, conservation laws, and nature conservation have pushed many indigenous people off the traditional lands where they have lived.
It's time to rethink nature conservation and create a new form of thinking, including the wisdom and practices of the world's indigenous people that we call the " indigenous way of knowing," broadening our accurate view of seeing nature holistically. We, humans, belong to nature. Future conservation plans must include indigenous and local people living harmoniously with nature. We are all one ecosystem.
We believe in the indigenous wisdom of nature conservation and our philosophy of sustainable indigenous travel. We have created unique trips and nature journeys with indigenous people like the Maasai in Tanzania, who respectfully welcome travelers into their homes and villages to explore their ancestral lands. After traveling with us, you will strengthen your spiritual bonds with nature, that it's our home.