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The gist

hunter-gatherers

[Please see the updates under this post. Until a likely article on horticulture and indigenous land management, they will serve as a first pass at the subject. If you have questions or comments going beyond what I've written here, feel free to email me. My thoughts are generally a few steps ahead of what I venture to post or submit for publication.]

[Revised 4/30/16]

Time for an update listing some simple, related points which underlie my thinking today.

A fuller version of these and other ideas will appear in a new article I've written. (Here's a link.)

So here's the gist...

Civilization is inherently destructive and unsustainable. A key reason for this is that civilization is founded on agriculture. Agriculture circumvents the natural processes which regulated human population numbers prior to its inception. It is the basic ecological factor which has caused our numbers to overshoot carrying capacity so enormously. Along the way, agriculture destroys topsoil and ecosystems, tearing down the web of life, our global life support system. Agriculture is therefore unsustainable. 

Civilization will therefore come to an end. Because the human population is deeply into overshoot, we know that ending will involve a tremendous decline in our numbers. Converging issues such as peak oil, climate change, topsoil and groundwater depletion, and the human-caused sixth mass extinction event in Earth's history suggest this may occur not many centuries from now, but sooner. How much sooner, no one can say.Though this signals the potential for tough times ahead, it also means an end to what's killing the earth.

Immediate-return hunting and gathering (see below) is arguably the only human way of living proven sustainable. It thus makes great sense to study it to learn all we can.

In light of the progressive destruction of Earth's life support systems, we see the reason for calls for a resistance movement from writers such as Zerzan and Jensen. Every day civilization remains intact brings more destruction of the web of life. Yet the potential for unintended consequences of such resistance actions presents a thorny dilemma to would-be advocates.

An easier yet tremendously valuable option is to do what we can through established conservation measures to protect as much habitat and biodiversity as possible, helping to preserve those things for the future. One of the most important and ambitious conservation projects today involves "rewilding" by restoring, protecing, and connecting wildlands corridors containing large predators on a continental scale.That and other projects are represented in "organizations" page on this site.

If you're interested in this topic, see the "core ecological issues" page for relevant links.

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Image source: David Barrie's photostream, flickr.com, creative commons license

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