Politics

What’s Extinction Rebel’s Beef with WWF?

GettyExtinction Rebellion hit the WWF this week

Extinction Rebellion struck the World Wildlife Fund as part of their recent demonstrations this week.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Youth Solidarity activists, along with the WTF WWF grassroots campaign, protested outside the headquarters of the conservation charity in Woking.

While the demonstration was just one of many held for XR’s two-week protest, Impossible Rebellion, some people scratched their heads.

Both XR and WWF appear to be advocating similar environmental concerns, so why did the activists target conservationists?

Here’s what we know

Complaints from XR against the WWF

In a speech outside headquarters – shared live on Facebook – protesters claimed the conservation group had “made multiple investments of its supporters’ donations in fossil fuel funds” and reportedly “conducted studies for Shell” by investigating where the company can drill for oil in the global south.

WTF WWF said: “The WTF WWF is occupying Gbabandi, Cameroon’s Forest Indigenous Peoples Platform and the indigenous Sengwer in Kenya on behalf of the indigenous Maasai communities living in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.

“WTF WWF demands that WWF UK challenge the mass displacement and human rights violations that are perpetrated against these indigenous groups in the pursuit of nature conservation.”

The group working with XR claimed tribal peoples were evicted by WWF in favor of an “alliance” with polluting industries.

How accurate are these claims?

The WWF, founded in 1961 by Prince Philip and Prince Bernhart of the Netherlands, is the world’s largest nature conservation organization with an international reputation.

But in the past he has been accused of selling his soul to large corporations, which then allegedly use conservationists to “wash green” their companies.

A controversial book called “Pandaleaks” – published in 2014 – claimed that the conservation group is too close to the fossil fuel industry and corporate money.

The WWF rejected the allegations at the time, however, saying: “Pandaleaks in the book of a discredited German television documentary that disregards most of the basic norms and standards of journalism. It is not factual and does not convey a representative picture of the WWF. “

The company added that it was in the process of improving its global transparency and accountability after breaking relationships with fossil fuel companies more than a decade ago.

She also claimed that the only way to preserve the environment is to work with people in the polluting industries.

The WWF was accused by activist Corporate Watch of working too closely with large corporations like Coca-Cola and IKEA.

Though WWF said in 2019 that only four percent of its total revenue came from large corporations.

That same year, a BuzzFeed News investigation alleged that WWF-funded paramilitary groups had committed grave human rights violations against local residents. The company defended itself, saying that the report documenting these crimes was not released to protect the victims while the guards in question were suspended and on the verge of law enforcement.

What does the WWF say about XR and WTF WWF

Responding to XR’s allegations and campaign, a WWF spokesperson said: “We appreciate the dialogue and collaboration on these complex issues but find the actions taken today by this campaign group at our UK headquarters disappointing.

“We share the same ambition to protect our world, combat climate change and ensure a future in which humans and nature can thrive.

“Communities are at the center of our work and as a global organization we will continue to strengthen the anchoring of human rights in nature conservation wherever we work, even in the most difficult areas of the world, to protect communities and the nature they live in . “

How much support does XR have towards the WWF?

Tory MP Alexander Stafford tweeted, “I’ve worked for WWF for years trying to reverse the decline in nature and protect our environment. This extinction rebellion protest is a shame.

“They do more harm than good and are little more than an extremist group that cares more about their own ego than about the planet.

“You skipped the shark completely. By attacking those who advocate protecting the environment, half of our natural decline and curbing climate change, they have revealed their own nihilistic hand. “

He added, “They are little more than would-be thugs and tyrants.”

XR’s Twitter account replied, “Thanks for the feedback, Alex. We are a peaceful, non-violent movement. “

The account then indicated that the MP had previously worked for Shell when their ridicule continued on Twitter.

I’ve worked for @wwf_uk for years trying to reverse the decline of nature and protect our environment, this extinction rebellion protest is a shame. They do more harm than good and are little more than an extremist group that cares more about their own ego than about the planet https://t.co/4KW7X6SjH0

– Alexander Stafford MP (@Alex_Stafford) August 31, 2021

Other Twitter users were also upset over XR’s decision to lobby the WWF.

Reminds me of how they got on an electric train and stopped people from using environmentally friendly public transport.

– Antibodies to Kookery (@AgainstKookery) September 1, 2021

I generally support ER, but that’s just stupid and totally counterproductive. Choose your battles FFS …

– evjeffries (@evjeffries) August 31, 2021

But some people were in favor of XR’s actions.

I think the WWF should be the ones doing a strategy review …

– Ali Hines (@shoemyth) August 31, 2021

In a free society, nature conservation organizations are not spared criticism, especially in view of the human rights violations committed by the WWF. That’s not hard.

– Matt T 🐲🌍🌹 (@ matt_cymru21) September 1, 2021

I am a conservationist, worked for WWF in Madagascar for several years and did research for WWF UK.

I’m also a member of Extinction Rebellion so the occupation of WWF UK by @XrYouth and others this week got me slightly at odds.

However, I fully support it 🧵1 /

– Dr. Charlie Gardner (@CharlieJGardner) September 1, 2021

This isn’t the first time XR has attacked other environmentalists

XR famously clashed with Sir David Attenborough last year after criticizing the group’s tactics.

Attenborough told BBC Breakfast: “You have to be careful not to break the law… we have to treat the people we share our community with with respect.

“Disrupting your life in such a way that innocent people can no longer go about their own business is serious business and could disenchant many people.

He added: “Of course I agree with your message, it is about what is political and reasonable to convince other people to join you?”

Some XR activists then presented Attenborough with a letter, along with the gift of an olive tree, defending their “nonviolent civil disobedience” and asking him to reconsider his position.

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