"our civilisation is at odds with nature"

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Tony

White bear (Admin)
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Apr 16, 2003
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Umm, I don’t think it’s a contentious statement, that will come along when people get heated because someone has a different view than theirs :D

It’s one of those thing where there has to be a balance struck between nature and our surrounding and the impact we have on it. It would be easy to say that we should always put nature first and that we should not allow humanity to have any impact on it, but in reality that’s impossible, humanity has always and will always have an impact on the world we live in. Some things we do as a civilised people are more detrimental to the environment than others and they should be reconsidered IMO, the impact we have has to be a balanced one which gives the most benefit for the smallest detrimental effect on nature.

Saying all that we are the ones that can make a difference, it’s in our power to save energy, water etc To recycle things and repair things like our fathers and grandfathers did. This is a world of demands and for the most part the easy life that many people want is being delivered to them…We can help our local forestry workers to keep them in good order and plant anew, or pick up litter, rebuild paths, support movements that have a positive impact on nature…there’s so much we can do to help. Society has an affect on nature, it’s unavoidable, some aspects of it are at odds with it, some are not, some sections of society are doing great works to preserve nature for our children and a big thank you to them :D
 

locum76

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 9, 2005
2,772
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Kirkliston
perhaps not.

humanity just hasn't reached its peak yet. nature seems to have a habit of knocking the advance of a species back a few steps when the population of that species can no longer fit its environment. theres still room on earth for more people yet so nature has not had to limit us.

humanity/ our civilisation would be at odds with nature if we managed to bypass that process and continue to grow exponentially.
 

Hunter Gatherer

New Member
May 8, 2006
28
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Mississauga, Canada
If you mean our present industrialized civilization, then the answer is yes. We have already reached our peak, and are on the downward slope of the bell curve. It's just that most people are so distracted by their daily lives they are unable to clearly see this.
People on the other hand(humanity) are not generally at odds with nature...we've just forgotten we are part of nature, and hence cannot be at odds with it. On a philosophical or metaphysical level, even a cancer is not at odds with its environment even though it is rather destructive of that same environment.(and I've heard more than a few statements that liken humans to a cancer on this earth...
If we are talking about a sense of balance with nature then it certainly has been a long time since we have been 'in balance'. Many feel that it is not possible to put nature first, civilization second. Thats because there is little personal, political, or business will to do so. Remember the easiest path isn't always the correct one.
As bushcrafters, we should all be more aware of nature and our connectedness to her. To quote a very old saying: 'There are no jobs on a dead planet'
Sorry about that rant mates, sensitive subject for me.
Alex
 

locum76

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 9, 2005
2,772
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Kirkliston
as civilisation is a creation of man and man is a creation of nature, is civilisation a creation of nature?

if the answer to that question is yes then civilisation surely cant be at odds with nature as it is a sub-component. just another brick in the wall.
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
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bromley kent uk
I think we are at odds or perhaps at war with nature and unless we learn to adapt and give to work with nature we will lose ? unfortunatly the vast majority of people have not got that mind set . Only this weekend our local chain store had electric patio heaters on special um global warming conserving energy ? till the commercialism before anything attitude changes I think we are a lost cause :confused:
 

Shambling Shaman

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
May 1, 2006
3,859
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In The Wild
www.mindsetcentral.com
We are in a apathetic time were people think "I cant change any thing so I wont even try"
Once every one takes a little responsibility for them selfs and not relying on some one else to do it for them the better. :soapbox:
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
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How do we know when we are in harmony with nature? Or indeed, at odds? For that matter, what is nature?

I am intrigued by the idea that we are on a downhill run having peaked at some point. When was it that we peaked?
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
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English Midlands
locum76 said:
as civilisation is a creation of man and man is a creation of nature, is civilisation a creation of nature?

if the answer to that question is yes then civilisation surely cant be at odds with nature as it is a sub-component. just another brick in the wall.

Is man a creation of nature or nature just a creation of man?
 

Dougster

Full Member
Oct 13, 2005
5,223
190
The banks of the Deveron.
All very profound to this point:

I'm not sure that we are all at odds with it, many people I know are in ignorance of it. Their world is plastic packed, hermetically sealed and 'dropped' at their door, they have no idea of where things come from, nor the effect they are having. The supply chain from China is far too long.

Some friends of ours marched, disgusted, out of a farm shop because they couldn't get the veg they could at Sainsbury's. It was out of season and our local supermarket flies it in from Kenya at the expense of the local people and hippo population. Now they have plastic packed pre washed veg delivered as they arrive home in immense Mercedes. Lovely people, consumers to the core. Sometimes we talk about this, and in a small way, they change their habits.

Whilst huge choice, convenience and £2000 TVs with a life expectancy of 5 years are offered, most will take it. I try not to, but sometimes the temptation defeats me and I sit with something in my hand thinking - will I ever need this? Just for a moment I am in ignorance of my needs and am sucked in by shiny packaging,sometimes I think it should have photos of all the faces of those who REALLY have to pay to produce it.

We will always need to take things, but as Ray Mears says, now it is time to fulfill our part of the bargain, however that may be.

One way for those of us who drive is:

http://www.carbonneutral.com/shop/results.asp?cat1=Driving

It eases my guilt.

This all is of course, all in my humble opinion. I'd hate for poeple to tell me what to eat, drive or buy, but if everyone knew, would everyone make the 'right' decision? Somebody will tell me off now.
 

locum76

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 9, 2005
2,772
9
45
Kirkliston
hi nobby,

the peak i mentioned was the classical malthusian population curve thing.

this is where a population of a species grows slowly at first while it establishes itself, then through time the rate of population growth increases until it is exponential. the peak, is the point where some limiting factor (i.e available space or essential resources) takes effect and swiftly halts the population growth. the population usually then falls drastically, then it'll grow a bit and sine wave on from there...
as long as no other limiting factor like a plague or something takes its toll.

the human population of the world is currently about halfway up the initial curve, well into exponential population growth but we have still not met a major limiting factor - hence it hasn't peaked.

i think what i'm ranting on about is this... nature in its fullest sense (not just pretty green trees and fluffy bunnys but the whole general mish mash) is something every man will have to deal when we run out of oil/water/food/space etc, and civilisation (whatever that is) will be a bit irrelevent.

this is why i want to learn to light a fire by friction, grow my own food and build my own shelter.
 

Hunter Gatherer

New Member
May 8, 2006
28
1
63
Mississauga, Canada
Good point locum76. Our population has not peaked yet, but our industrialized civilization has. I dont want to turn this into a Peak Oil discussion, but those who may have some doubts, just google 'peak oil', and you'll start to see some pretty ominous dark clouds forming on the horizon...
Cheers
Alex
 

ilan

Nomad
Feb 14, 2006
281
2
67
bromley kent uk
will not the major limiting factor be when we are unable to sustain the existing population which looks like happening in the not to distant future. as the earths recources decline which they are doing at an alarming rate, and as we change the climate then the ability to provide food and energy for the exisiting population will be difficult .Africa and parts of india are already reliant on food donations which is artificialy keeping the population above what is sustainable . In the uk we rely on food imports from the rest of the world and for a lot of our energy to,
Unfortunatly until people practice a sort of ecocraft reducing our reliance on out of country recources , then i think we are on that slipery slope .
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
73
English Midlands
locum76 said:
hi nobby,

the peak i mentioned was the classical malthusian population curve thing.


i think what i'm ranting on about is this... nature in its fullest sense (not just pretty green trees and fluffy bunnys but the whole general mish mash) is something every man will have to deal when we run out of oil/water/food/space etc, and civilisation (whatever that is) will be a bit irrelevent.

this is why i want to learn to light a fire by friction, grow my own food and build my own shelter.

Thanks for the explanation of the peak. I was thinking that you were harking back to some 'perfect' past in history.
I find it difficult to accept any doom and gloom scenario. I don't believe that we will run out of water, food or the things essential to life. Some people may not get them, but that happens now. If we run out of oil I am positive that science will provide an alternative and that technology will mold it into something viable. I also suspect that the technologicall changes needed will come along before we run out. Perhaps we could go back a step and redevelop steam; maybe make its use more efficient. Horses worked well for many centuries and didn't need fire making by friction.
There has been similar discussion on the thread 'The Place of Bushcraft in 21st Century Britain'.
IMO Bushcraft is something of a conceit. It is a hobby - interesting and fun - but not essential to modern life here. Maybe Africa, but then they have real bush, don't they?
 

nobby

New Member
Jun 26, 2005
370
2
73
English Midlands
ilan said:
will not the major limiting factor be when we are unable to sustain the existing population which looks like happening in the not to distant future. as the earths recources decline which they are doing at an alarming rate, and as we change the climate then the ability to provide food and energy for the exisiting population will be difficult .Africa and parts of india are already reliant on food donations which is artificialy keeping the population above what is sustainable . In the uk we rely on food imports from the rest of the world and for a lot of our energy to,
Unfortunatly until people practice a sort of ecocraft reducing our reliance on out of country recources , then i think we are on that slipery slope .

Hi there Ilan,

If the existing population is unsustainable in an area there is famine and death. We see it in Africa all of the time.
The resources that are declining are the ones that are high profile because we use them. Who can tell what resources are untapped or under developed as yet? As an example,I recently bought a 5w Coleman folding solar panel. It charges AA batteries which I use for my camera, my gps and my torch, and I can recharge my mobile phone and iPod. AFAIK this kind of power source wasn't available just 20 years ago. Certainly not 40 years ago and yet now I can carry it around with me.
We don't 'rely' on food imports. We could be self sufficient in the UK but the diet would be a lot less interesting.
All that said, however, I still agree that a little ecocraft can go a long way to make life more comfortable and definitely more interesting.
 

Bonzo Frog

Forager
Jun 21, 2005
123
1
Worcestershire
An old Native American saying...

There was a time when man took no
more than he needed.
That time is gone.
There was a time when he gave something back.
That time is gone.
There was a time when he worshipped the
Creator and honored creation.
That time too is gone.
And now that waters are polluted, our natural
resources are all but gone and creation is dying,
It is time to find our way back to earth.

Seems to sum it up for me anyway :)
 

stotRE

New Member
nobby said:
There has been similar discussion on the thread 'The Place of Bushcraft in 21st Century Britain'.
IMO Bushcraft is something of a conceit. It is a hobby - interesting and fun - but not essential to modern life here. Maybe Africa, but then they have real bush, don't they?

It dosen't have to be just an hobby,to me its a way of life.

The next time you need a new chair,or coffee table why not make one?

Enjoy eating tomatoes,grow them.

Enjoy icecream?make some(every year me and my wife make dairy free blackberry icecream and its tasty :D )

To me bushcraft isn't just making feather sticks and bannok bread,it can and should be much more.

All it takes is imagination.
 

locum76

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 9, 2005
2,772
9
45
Kirkliston
nobby said:
I find it difficult to accept any doom and gloom scenario.

IMO Bushcraft is something of a conceit. It is a hobby - interesting and fun - but not essential to modern life here. Maybe Africa, but then they have real bush, don't they?

its not really a doom and gloom scenario, just a scentific fact. the same population model can be applied to bacteria in a petri dish or to wolf and hare populations in canada or any other species you care to mention...

The Core Principles of Malthus:

* Food is necessary for human existence.
* Human population, if not checked, tends to grow faster than the power in the earth to produce subsistence.
* The effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal.
* Misery is the mechanism that balances human requirements and available resources.
* Nature's requirement that the imbalance between demand and supply be resolved forms the "strongest obstacle in the way of any very great improvement of society," and thus makes "the perfectibility of man and society" a theoretical and practical impossibility.
* The Principle of Population, i.e., the inevitability of misery due to the power of population to overwhelm resources, provides the mainspring behind the advance of human civilization by creating incentives for progress.

Malthus’s great contribution was to emphasize the findings of those of his predecessors such as the author of Ecclesiastes, Tertullian, Richard Cantillon, Robert Wallace, David Hume, Adam Smith and others who recognized the power of population to overwhelm the means of subsistence. Malthus drew from their understanding that there must necessarily be checks to the great power of population, or else, as Wallace put it, the “earth would be overstocked and become unable to support its numerous inhabitants.” Or as Malthus put it, “The germs of existence contained in this spot of earth, with ample food, and ample room to expand in, would fill millions of worlds, in the course of a few thousand years.”

In his “Preface,” Malthus observed that while other writers had noticed that population cannot grow beyond the supply of food, no author before him had inquired particularly into the mechanism which kept population down to the means of subsistence. Malthus also taught that the balancing phenomenon achieved by misery is a “constantly operating” and cyclical occurrence. During good times human numbers increase to the point where available resources are overwhelmed, at which point misery acts to reduce the numbers. Malthus understood that “this necessary oscillation, this constantly subsisting cause of periodical misery, has existed ever since we have had any histories of mankind, does exist at present and will for ever continue to exist…”
 

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