This article seeks to deconstruct the anti-environmentalist label currently attached to many rural communities around the world. The study specifically addresses supposed anti-environmentalism among commodity farmers in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta and argues that it is overly simplistic to dub any community as anti-environmentalist before determining the historic basis for their motivations and beliefs. The data presented are drawn from onsite interviews with area farmers, community leaders and residents. The research indicates that although intensive farming practices have injured the environment and local residents have opposed environmentalist intervention, their actions and beliefs are rooted not in anti-environmental beliefs, but rather in an historical opposition to the federal regulation of agriculture. Today, Delta farmers are investing in and implementing conservation programs on their land. They are aided in their efforts by local conservation organizations working to recruit local farmers to adopt conservation in order to placate federal officials and rid themselves of unwanted regulations. This work is juxtaposed to examples of other rural communities around the world, similarly dubbed anti-environmental by environmentalist groups and state officials. Analyses of historic relationships of these other communities with the land and with outsiders indicate that, like the Deltans, these communities are not opposed to the preservation of the environment but rather to the intrusion of outsiders into their agricultural and economic practices. The paper concludes with a discussion of the local ecological knowledge that environmentalists and theorists stand to lose by continuing to exclude communities from the environmentalist discourse.
Shoreman-Ouimet, Eleanor. "Concessions and Conservation: A Study of Environmentalism and Anti-environmentalism among Commodity Farmers." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 14, no. 1 (2010): 52-66.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol14/iss1/4