[permaculture] permaculture - Biofuel Illusion

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Mon Jul 10 21:04:02 EDT 2006

There's a nice, short book called "Neanderthals, Bandits, and Farmers" by
Colin Tudge that advances the idea that humans developed gardening
techniques long, long before the Neolithic "dawn of agriculture" 10,000
years ago. We've had fire for 500,000 years, so you can bet we've been
tending plants a long time, too. "Pure" hunter-gathering, as Paul suggests,
probably disappeared before the genus Homo arose.

And yes, population is a key to sustainability. Pack in too many of any
species, human or not, of whatever cultural practices, and you'll degrade
the environment (look at rabbits, cattle, elephants--there are countless
examples). Agriculture took the lid off of human numbers, and the Earth has
been been going downhill ever since. We need to develop structural
constraints on population or nature will do it for us.


On 7/10/06 12:04 PM, "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.

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