[permaculture] permaculture - Biofuel Illusion

Sean Maley semaley at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 10 15:49:29 EDT 2006

--- Paul A Cross <charybda at newmex.com> wrote:
> 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.

This is a very good point.  Some of the recent writing, that this discussion emanates, states that
"civilization" is what is specific, not "hunter-gatherer".  In the infamous words of Duh!, "Either
you are with us, or you are against us", we find that our culture isn't very tolerant of competing
thought.  The concept of a "hunter-gatherer" becomes hijacked by our lack of adequate words to
describe it.  To me, Permaculture serves as the spectrum between a monoculture perception of
"hunter-gatherer" and "agriculture" where soil isn't being depleted.  Therefore, this new word -
describing a non soil depleting horticultural practice - can be used to better understand
indigenous cultures and realize that "hunter gatherers" are more than just animals taking from
what nature provides without attempting to alter their natural surroundings.

> 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.

Many humans aren't the only species attempting to reconfigure their surroundings to suit
themselves.  Could birds be intending to put seeds in certain locations to their advantage
(sanitariums exist for birds, as well as humans)?  We see examples of tool use in Chimpanzees and
Gorillas, what other skills do they apply that we formerly associated with our own "intelligence"?
 Why do we assume humanity was mindless before civilization, despite being physiologically
identical before hand, albeit without the tooth decay and diseases of civilization?  With
Chimpanzee being 97% the same genetically as humans, why do we assume we are not ourselves a form
of chimpanzee, Pan Sapiens?  If the world wasn't created 10,000 years ago, as suggested in the
bible, then when and where in the natural world does intelligence begin?



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