[permaculture] permaculture - Biofuel Illusion

Paul A Cross charybda at newmex.com
Mon Jul 10 15:04:12 EDT 2006

Ben wrote:
If we're going to idealize a historical subsistence pattern, than let it
be that of all the hunter-gather and horticultural groups that comprised
the totality of humanity until roughly 10,000 years ago, and continue to
exist in a few places at present. Their effects on overall biomass and
biodiversity were/are almost always nil to positive; their people
consistently happier than any other type of society, and with the
possible exception of modern industrial society, always healthier than
any other; their lives ones of more leisure than any agricultural or
industrial society.

I question whether the hunter-gatherer culture really ever existed. I'm no
anthropologist, but I figure that when we were able to make tools to hunt and
gather then we were probably already engaged in creating a polycultural
environment that appears to us today as "nature" but in fact has been very
carefully influenced by conscious human action for their benefit. And on my
more cynical days, I figure that the early cultures just lacked enough people
and technology to degrade the ecosystems.

The concepts we are developing now of food forests and permaculture
farms/gardens, we often think of this as modeling natural systems, yet maybe
this is more going back to earlier design strategies that we forgot or
abandoned when we moved to systems that we recognize today as agriculture.

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