savage environmentalists and savage distruction

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 21 Sep 1994 17:13:07 EDT

Several people have made some very valid points on this thread.
A. Tanner perhaps made the most critical one: when population is
expanding exponentially (as ours is now world wide), it becomes almost
impossible to keep the system in balance, noble savage (with noble
intentions) or money-grubbing western industrialist (wanting to rape
the landscape forever). There are two points to add to this:
1. All species if undergoing population expansion that is uncontrolled
(as much human expansion is), will cause destruction to their environment.
This is true whether it is spruce bud worm, cudzo, dinosaurs, or humans.
Population expansion that is uncontrolled usually operates when the natural
predators are not functioning to keep the population in check (as now).
2. The other critical factor is how long it takes to repair the
damage done by such wanton expansion. If it is a few years, then
environmentally we rarely see this as destruction in the true sense of
the word, but it still remains a form of destruction. We might then
say that swiddening is destructive too, but its repair time is a few
years to tens of years compared to hundreds or thousands (or even millions??)
for western agricultural methods applied to the rainforest.

Finally, Rick Wilk made a comment to me in a private email which I believe
needs to be echoed to all:
Man has been severely modifying his environment for between 4.5 and 1 My
depending in how you define severe. Humans are a natural species and,
hence, the destructions they cause must also be natural by definition.
As westerners, we often separate what humans do from the "natural",
when in fact it is indeed natural, just not what would have likely happened
without our "monkeying around with the system".