5,000 Years of Sustainability

Rice FieldWhile we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant reaches of North America’s past? Jude Isabella writes on Archeology:

A re-evaluation of evidence along North America’s western coast shows how its earliest inhabitants managed the sea’s resources stone walls serve as evidence that early peoples cultivated the intertidal zones to build clam gardens and fish traps

When the tide is out, the table is set. —Tlingit proverb

The tide is going out at Gibsons Beach, in the Strait of Georgia on Canada’s west coast. When the tide is low, it’s easy to spot rock walls in the intertidal zone, the area of shore land that’s exposed during low tide and hidden when the tide is in. A person can look at this beach for years and never understand that apparently random scatterings of piled rocks were actually carefully constructed to catch food from the sea. One formation, a circular shape almost 100 feet in diameter, is a clam garden, a flattened area that pools water and creates a habitat for clams to grow. Nearby, also in the intertidal zone, is a chevron-shaped collection of stones that opens into the sea and funnels fish toward the shore, a fish trap.

Dana Lepofsky, an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, believes these gardens and traps, found up and down the coast, could be up to 2,000 years old. They were used by the indigenous population and serve as artifacts that dispute what the archaeological record has to this point claimed was the area’s primary staple: salmon.

Read More

, , , , ,

  • Anonymous

    While it is no doubt precisely accurate to use the word “sustainability” one has to consider the level of culture or indeed, civilization, it sustained. We are not talking complex material culture–architecture–engineering, or labor saving devices. We are talking about clever management of piscine resources, such as the natives of Tasmania–even after they stopped making fish hooks since herding fish behind tidal baskets made them irrelevant. While it is one level to rely upon walking to get around and another to have a BMW, they both get you from point A to point B. But each implies a different idea of culture and civilization–many would say totally so.  So prior to romanticizing hunters and gathers as the noble savage, let us explore what the word “savage” might have meant.

  • KewGardensNYC

    While it is no doubt precisely accurate to use the word “sustainability” one has to consider the level of culture or indeed, civilization, it sustained. We are not talking complex material culture–architecture–engineering, or labor saving devices. We are talking about clever management of piscine resources, such as the natives of Tasmania–even after they stopped making fish hooks since herding fish behind tidal baskets made them irrelevant. While it is one level to rely upon walking to get around and another to have a BMW, they both get you from point A to point B. But each implies a different idea of culture and civilization–many would say totally so.  So prior to romanticizing hunters and gathers as the noble savage, let us explore what the word “savage” might have meant.

    • Anarchy Pony

      There can be no sustainability of a complex material culture. It is inherently unsustainable. And one must understand the true nature of “labor saving” devices and practices which are dependent on exploitation of energy sources, the acquisition of which is dangerous and the use of which is pollutive, and in past civilizations was essentially slave labor. And it is folly to continue advocating such a society and lifestyle, particularly one who’s vitality is dependent upon constant growth and expansion. It will lead only to ruin and disruption of environmental viability, and further the possible extinction of our species.
      Comforts and elegancies are not worth the viability of the natural world. 

      • Hadrian999

        comforts and elegance are what make existence bearable

        • Anarchy Pony

          Depends on what you deem to be comfortable or elegant.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        While i agree that the kinds of lifestyles and societies are all messed up, I’m more inclined to believe that there are energy sources out there that aren’t so destructive, just certain.. interests.. have kept them squelched for such a long time that people don’t think about it anymore. In other words, I still believe in renewable energy [edit] or something even more important: renewable culture[/edit].

      • EyeoftheAxis

        Spoiler alert – Wasichu devours everything. With nothing
        left to feed it’s insatiable greed, it eats itself. Earth wins, Mother Nature
        may or may not ask humans back for the sequel. Children of people that can grow,
        catch and kill food stand a better chance making it to the Earth v3.0. Ghost
        Dance.

        “my name is wasichu. i know
        thee, i have found thee, & i will not let thee go.”
        http://www.dickshovel.com/wasichu.html

        Ghost Dance – Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble
        from their recording Music for the Native Americans.

        http://youtu.be/wTY2pmKguDg

        • Anarchy Pony

          Is Wasichu the same as Wetiko? I have seen more different spellings and interpretations of that word than any other.  

    • Jin The Ninja

      If you had READ the article you would realise these were not “hunter gatherers” but rather a fully fledged civilization with advanced political and social systems. Nice try though attempting to implicate me in that oh-so western catagorisation of Native peoples as the “Noble Savage” archetype. I do not subscribe to such an archaic victorian view of anthropology or aboriginal studies as to “romanticise” historical cultures. I am merely posting an article that although holistical in it’s academic approach, presents a steadfast historical understanding of sustainability in historical incarnations.

      • Tuna Ghost

        Okay, but “noble savage” aside, what is your response to his main point?  The civilizations described in the article had much lower resource needs than our own–we have 300 million people and significantly different resource needs aside from water and vegetation, what about the resources needed for technology, transportation, or things of that nature?  

        • Jin The Ninja

          Well i still find his points from above posts (both) to be fraught with highly  suspect language and a very old-fashioned understanding of anthropology contrary to the more venerable / contemporary holistic paradigm used both in aboriginal studies and cultural anthropology.  Disregarding that (which i admit could be my own bias) and to answer your question:

          I am NOT an anarcho-primitivist, and am not inclined towards a return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
          I do however, believe the 20th century has drastically shortened historical and cultural memory to the last 50 years, and anything beyond that tends to be disregarded if not forgotten entirely, particularly non-western bodies of knowledge. (okay big statement- so where to go from here?) – therefore i think there are lessons whether cultural or ecological that can be gleaned by looking at diverse civ. structures, particularly those of very high longevity.

          I don’t want to be mistaken for romantising those cultures- i recognise their “limitations” particularly in parallel to our current civilizational standards/ needs. However i do believe rather, that non-technological solutions are readily applicable to a diverse range of “industries.” And to move away from large scale industrialisation to localised means of productions- would dramatically alter how “we” (the problematic “we”) engage with our environment.

          I am also not anti-technology, in fact i believe the internet has tremendous democratic properties- and globalised ones at that. I reject the innappropriate use of technology i.e. large scale resource extraction like that of gold, diamonds and rare earth minerals- and instead would look to technological ways to recycle and reuse the high volume of materials already extant.

          To take this a step further, I also believe if we do not cease our current growth model of capitalism, and “development” it will lead us to far worse destruction than simply returning to pre-technological society.

          I fully embrace alterna. energy technologies, but I also reject their production using the same low standards as other industrial machinery that willfully neglect environmental costs.

          This model is referred to as “Post-Civ”

          http://theanarchistlibrary.org/print/Strangers_In_a_Tangled_Wilderness__Post-Civ___A_Brief_Philosophical_and_Political_Introduction_to_the_Concept_of_Post-civilization.html

          Or alternatively Municipalism/post-Scarcity Anarchism

          http://www.amazon.com/Post-Scarcity-Anarchism-Working-Classics-Bookchin/dp/1904859062

          I realise i was probably overy verbose in my response, but because i know you are a cogent and clever reader i thought i should at least attempt to be thorough.

        • Jin The Ninja

          I realise my post turned overly esoteric and i apologise- merely my intention to clarify my views and respond to your question.

  • Gibberish

    >While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our
    catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach
    and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant
    reaches of North America’s past?

    WTF does this sentence mean? Let’s parse it:

    >While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our
    catastrophic environmental ills

    Who is “we”?

    How, exactly, does “we” venerate technology as the panacea for our catastrophic environmental ills?

    What environmental ills, specifically, are “we” concerned about?

    >what if we could contextually approach
    and learn

    I don’t understand the meaning of the word “contextually” in this, uh, context. It’s unnecessary and adds only the appearance of verbal virtuosity.

    >sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant
    reaches of North America’s past?

    You mean those “sustainable” civilizations whose inhabitants warred constantly with the Haida, and where people died at the age of 40 and infant mortality was at least 50%? Is that your definition of “sustainable”?

  • Gibberish

    >While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our
    catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach
    and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant
    reaches of North America’s past?

    WTF does this sentence mean? Let’s parse it:

    >While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our
    catastrophic environmental ills

    Who is “we”?

    How, exactly, does “we” venerate technology as the panacea for our catastrophic environmental ills?

    What environmental ills, specifically, are “we” concerned about?

    >what if we could contextually approach
    and learn

    I don’t understand the meaning of the word “contextually” in this, uh, context. It’s unnecessary and adds only the appearance of verbal virtuosity.

    >sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant
    reaches of North America’s past?

    You mean those “sustainable” civilizations whose inhabitants warred constantly with the Haida, and where people died at the age of 40 and infant mortality was at least 50%? Is that your definition of “sustainable”?

    • Anarchy Pony

      You have no idea what sustainability is do you? If you are using renewable resources faster than they can be replenished, or are dependent on resources that aren’t renewable, then you aren’t being sustainable. Eventually you will run out of those resources and you will be fucked. In that scenario your people’s lifespans will likely be 0 and infant mortality will be 100%.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Also lets see here, “We” is likely a generalized reference to Americans or “westerners”, that venerate technological progression as if it is an all applicable solution to the environmental ills, which include but are not limited to: ocean acidification, air pollution, water contamination, deforestation, species extinction, anthropological global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Anthropogenic global warming, sorry.

    • Jin The Ninja

      I don’t understand trolls. And your point is? oh right, doesn’t have one.

      • Redacted

        That’s no troll. That’s just a Republican.

    • Tuna Ghost

      While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our 
      catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach 
      and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant 
      reaches of North America’s past?

      WTF does this sentence mean?

      The US, or at least those aware of the issues facing us in this regard, is counting on technology to save us from the coming environmental catastrophes in regard to sustainability.  Things like water shortages and food importation in the context of the energy crisis coming up because of oil shortages. Looking into the past to see how First Nation communities lived may lead to clues about how to mitigate the potential disaster.  

      That, ah, wasn’t too difficult, really.  

      Personally, I don’t think banking on technology is such a bad idea.  I’m not sure how useful it is to look to the past, when the communities were much much smaller and had significantly different (and smaller) resource demands.  But who knows, it could yield some interesting strategies.

    • Tuna Ghost

      You mean those “sustainable” civilizations whose inhabitants warred constantly with the Haida, and where people died at the age of 40 and infant mortality was at least 50%? Is that your definition of “sustainable”?

      Wait, what does any of that have to do with sustainability?  Why would he define “sustainable” that way when it has absolutely nothing to do with resource consumption?  

  • Wanooski

    There can be no sustainability of a complex material culture. It is inherently unsustainable. And one must understand the true nature of “labor saving” devices and practices which are dependent on exploitation of energy sources, the acquisition of which is dangerous and the use of which is pollutive, and in past civilizations was essentially slave labor. And it is folly to continue advocating such a society and lifestyle, particularly one who’s vitality is dependent upon constant growth and expansion. It will lead only to ruin and disruption of environmental viability, and further the possible extinction of our species.
    Comforts and elegancies are not worth the viability of the natural world. 

  • Wanooski

    You have no idea what sustainability is do you? If you are using renewable resources faster than they can be replenished, or are dependent on resources that aren’t renewable, then you aren’t being sustainable. Eventually you will run out of those resources and you will be fucked. In that scenario your people’s lifespans will likely be 0 and infant mortality will be 100%.

  • Wanooski

    Also lets see here, “We” is likely a generalized reference to Americans or “westerners”, that venerate technological progression as if it is an all applicable solution to the environmental ills, which include but are not limited to: ocean acidification, air pollution, water contamination, deforestation, species extinction, anthropological global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion.

  • Wanooski

    Anthropogenic global warming, sorry.

  • Anonymous

    If you had READ the article you would realise these were not “hunter gatherers” but rather a fully fledged civilization with advanced political and social systems. Nice try though.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand trolls. And your point is? oh right, doesn’t have one.

  • Hadrian999

    comforts and elegance are what make existence bearable

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    While i agree that the kinds of lifestyles and societies are all messed up, I’m more inclined to believe that there are energy sources out there that aren’t so destructive, just certain.. interests.. have kept them squelched for such a long time that people don’t think about it anymore. In other words, I still believe in renewable energy.

  • Anonymous

    That’s no troll. That’s just a Republican.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    Humanity was much more resourceful and intelligent 5000 years ago. This intelligence was wiped-out by the plague known as Western Civilization.  The sooner this plague eliminates the majority of those infected with it, the sooner humanity become intelligent once again.

  • BuzzCoastin

    Humanity was much more resourceful and intelligent 5000 years ago. This intelligence was wiped-out by the plague known as Western Civilization.  The sooner this plague eliminates the majority of those infected with it, the sooner humanity become intelligent once again.

    • Hadrian999

      good news you can reclaim all that, give away all your stuff and go be resourceful and intelligent in the woods i give you 6 weeks before you before you die or come running back to the plague

      • BuzzCoastin

        Spoken like a true infected victim.

        > give away all your stuff and go be resourceful and intelligent in the woods

        Did that 10 years ago and it worked out great; lived in the woods very comfortably for over a year. Since then I have traveled around the world twice, visited Der Homeland only a few times and now live in Asia where the infection rate is lower and the amount of personal freedom is higher.

        Once I spent some time with the Akha people in the mountains of Thailand only to discover that my wilderness skills were on par with theirs. Having no possessions makes my abiity to do these things very easy.

        Can you grow your own food dude? Speak any languages other than English? Traveled outside your counties borders without being a soldier? Ever live in a foreign country? Most of those infected with the Homeland version of Western Culture cannot do these things.

        Oh and, thanks for the set-up.

        • Hadrian999

          i do enjoy traveling, my next trip will be S.E. Asia but one day I have to get back to Chania, everyone should travel, great perspective builder…you are trying to hard to sound like a movie hero to be believed though

          • BuzzCoastin

            > you are trying to hard to sound like a movie hero to be believed though

            Well Dude, you’re the one who asked and I’m the one who did it.

            By SE Asia do you mean BKK (the cock)? Do you stay near NaNa on Sukhumvit? Or are you inclined towards Chiang Mai?  For me Ko Lanta is a great chill spot.

            Or are you headed for my favorite form of anarchy Phenom Phen? I miss having breakfast at the FCC with the riverfront view and the CIA agents.

            Gettin back to China huh? I came here three years ago for two weeks and now spend most of my time in Beijing, but will be moving on about a year from now.

          • Hadrian999

            Philippines actually my target is outside the city, manila is cool and all but i want to hit the provinces this time, hopefully in a couple of years i’ll be in a position to travel as a profession

          • Hadrian999

            i think  you misunderstood me or i had a typo I meant Chania in Crete, beautiful city

          • Tuna Ghost

            Ugh, China.  Give me Vietnam any day. I’ve been considering working in either Thailand or  Vietnam, I know I can find a job in Hanoi (beautiful city, or at least parts of it) but friends who worked in Thailand tell me it’s wonderful.  I’m not a big fan of Bangkok but I’m sure there’s somewhere near a beach that I could enjoy.  What do you recommend?  

            Actually, have I already asked you that?  I feel like I’ve already asked someone that…

          • Jin The Ninja

            My 2cents: vietnam over thailand.

            more beautiful, less westerners, great food ( preference really), and if i recall you live in Korea right now? vietnam some interesting historical parallels due to sinification- so depending on your interest in EA history might find it more appealing.

          • BuzzCoastin

            Yeah, China’s not my favorite place either, but this is where the flow has placed me for now.

            Personally I prefer Thailand to Vietnam or anywhere else in SE Asia, but Cambodia is a close second. Most western type jobs will be in Bangkok; I haven’t seen very many “farangs” working in the resort areas, but there is a large western expat community in BKK. I have met a lot of Français in Vietnam but they are usually married to a Vietnamese. Hanoi is just a little too cold for my taste, but the weather is more mild than Korea. Happy Trails!

      • Anarchy Pony

        Why is it you always seem to equate the concept of hunting and gathering tribal lifestyle and the survivalists like Grylls and Stroud who only teach people to get back to civilization?

  • Hadrian999

    good news you can reclaim all that, give away all your stuff and go be resourceful and intelligent in the woods i give you 6 weeks before you before you die or come running back to the plague

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    Spoken like a true infected victim.

    > give away all your stuff and go be resourceful and intelligent in the woods

    Did that 10 years ago and it worked out great; lived in the woods very comfortably for over a year. Since then I have traveled around the world twice, visited Der Homeland only a few times and now live in Asia where the infection rate is lower and the amount of personal freedom is higher.

    Once I spent some time with the Akha people in the mountains of Thailand only to discover that my wilderness skills were on par with theirs. Having no possessions makes my abiity to do these things very easy.

    Can you grow your own food dude? Speak any languages other than English? Traveled outside your counties borders without being a soldier? Ever live in a foreign country? Most of those infected with the Homeland version of Western Culture cannot do these things.

  • Hadrian999

    i do enjoy traveling, my next trip will be S.E. Asia but one day I have to get back to Chania, everyone should travel, great perspective builder…you are trying to hard to sound like a movie hero to be believed though

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    > you are trying to hard to sound like a movie hero to be believed though

    Well Dude, you’re the one who asked and I’m the one who did it.

    By SE Asia do you mean BKK (the cock)? Do you stay near NaNa on Sukhumvit? Or are you uinclined towards Chiang Mai?  For me Ko Lanta is a great chill spot.

    Or are you headed for my favorite form of anarchy Phenom Phen? I miss having breakfast at the FCC with the riverfront view and the CIA agents.

    Gettin back to China huh? I came here three years ago for two weeks and now spend most of my time in Beijing, but will be moving on about a year from now.

  • Hadrian999

    Philippines actually my target is outside the city, manila is cool and all but i want to hit the provinces this time, hopefully in a couple of years i’ll be in a position to travel as a profession

  • Hadrian999

    Philippines actually my target is outside the city, manila is cool and all but i want to hit the provinces this time, hopefully in a couple of years i’ll be in a position to travel as a profession

  • Anonymous

    Please note that the article in Archaeology is about the economics of a particular people; NOT, their social organization, nor their theology, kinship or any of dozens of other aspects or elements which compose their culture or indeed, civilization of any people. It does, however, make reference to embankments, undoubted not of ashlars masonry, nor plumb, nor of stone imported from an exoteric, symbolic locale, of approximately 100 feet in diameter. The brief, popular article does not tell us if the culture was exogamic or endogamic; matrilocal, matrilineal; patrilocal, patrilineal; if marine deities were worshiped or indeed present. It does not inform us about child rearing, gender division of labor and indeed about anything other than the simple, popular culture level of Archaeology Magazine.  IF anyone took the time to read my  post, they would note that I did not in any way refer to politics, theology, engineering or anything other than addressing the topics noted in Archaeology. Because the term “salmon” was used in the article and salmon are a seasonal resource and because of my reference to Tasmanian cultures–obviously beyond the knowledge of the poster, Jin, AND because of the text, I used the term hunter and gathers (stated by the text). I simply don’t know why someone might consider this economic format as being a derogatory aspect characteristic of simple groups and project their belief to me. Whatever the term “simple” might be, hunters and gathers make sophisticated use of seasonal resources and are keen observers of the movement of herds, ripening of grains and indeed, in this case, the life cycle of marine food elements (stated in this text). Before condescendingly admonishing me and saying “Nice try” please take your own advise and read.  The ability to simply read a text seems beyond many and thus lack, along with the passionate need to project superiority onto others, are perhaps two of the psycho-social aspects and major problems I have seen in flaws of training received from the American Academy at all levels–even prestige universities. I might add to this that for some odd reason, there exists an irrational, childish sentimentality in seeing the Age D’ Or in any and all  pre-literate, non-western cultures. Any dispassionate survey suggests that all cultures are composed of both beneficial and self-defeating aspects. And from Hesiod onwards the West has been self-critical. Yet next time I get a staph infection, I think I will not choose the Inuit fermented whale blubber remedy. Or better yet, the auspicious, time honored, Old Kingdom Egyptian warm crocodile feces recipe. I, for one, do believe in the supiority of many aspects of the West,  antibiotics being among them. 

  • Anonymous

    Please note that the article in Archaeology is about the economics of a particular people; NOT, their social organization, nor their theology, kinship or any of dozens of other aspects or elements which compose their culture or indeed, civilization of any people. It does, however, make reference to embankments, undoubted not of ashlars masonry, nor plumb, nor of stone imported from an exoteric, symbolic locale, of approximately 100 feet in diameter. The brief, popular article does not tell us if the culture was exogamic or endogamic; matrilocal, matrilineal; patrilocal, patrilineal; if marine deities were worshiped or indeed present. It does not inform us about child rearing, gender division of labor and indeed about anything other than the simple, popular culture level of Archaeology Magazine.  IF anyone took the time to read my  post, they would note that I did not in any way refer to politics, theology, engineering or anything other than addressing the topics noted in Archaeology. Because the term “salmon” was used in the article and salmon are a seasonal resource and because of my reference to Tasmanian cultures–obviously beyond the knowledge of the poster, Jin, AND because of the text, I used the term hunter and gathers (stated by the text). I simply don’t know why someone might consider this economic format as being a derogatory aspect characteristic of simple groups and project their belief to me. Whatever the term “simple” might be, hunters and gathers make sophisticated use of seasonal resources and are keen observers of the movement of herds, ripening of grains and indeed, in this case, the life cycle of marine food elements (stated in this text). Before condescendingly admonishing me and saying “Nice try” please take your own advise and read.  The ability to simply read a text seems beyond many and thus lack, along with the passionate need to project superiority onto others, are perhaps two of the psycho-social aspects and major problems I have seen in flaws of training received from the American Academy at all levels–even prestige universities. I might add to this that for some odd reason, there exists an irrational, childish sentimentality in seeing the Age D’ Or in any and all  pre-literate, non-western cultures. Any dispassionate survey suggests that all cultures are composed of both beneficial and self-defeating aspects. And from Hesiod onwards the West has been self-critical. Yet next time I get a staph infection, I think I will not choose the Inuit fermented whale blubber remedy. Or better yet, the auspicious, time honored, Old Kingdom Egyptian warm crocodile feces recipe. I, for one, do believe in the supiority of many aspects of the West,  antibiotics being among them. 

  • KewGardensNYC

    Please note that the article in Archaeology is about the economics of a particular people; NOT, their social organization, nor their theology, kinship or any of dozens of other aspects or elements which compose their culture or indeed, civilization of any people. It does, however, make reference to embankments, undoubtedly not of ashlars, nor plumb, nor of stone imported from an exoteric, symbolic locale; of approximately 100 feet in diameter. The brief, popular article does not tell us if the culture was exogamic or endogamic; matrilocal, matrilineal; patrilocal, patrilineal; if marine deities were worshiped or indeed present. It does not inform us about child rearing, gender division of labor and indeed about anything other than the simple, popular culture level of Archaeology Magazine.  IF anyone took the time to read my  post, they would note that I did not in any way refer to politics, theology, engineering or anything other than addressing the topics noted in Archaeology. Because the term “salmon” was used in the article and salmon are a seasonal resource and because of my reference to Tasmanian cultures–obviously beyond the knowledge of the poster, Jin, AND because of the text, I used the term hunter and gathers (defined by the text). I simply don’t know why someone might consider this economic format as being a derogatory aspect characteristic of simple groups. Moreover, I don’t know why they would want to project their negative belief to me. Whatever the term “simple” might be, hunters and gathers make sophisticated use of seasonal resources and are keen observers of the movement of herds, ripening of grains and indeed, in this case, the life cycle of marine food elements (stated in this text). Before condescendingly admonishing me and saying “Nice try” please take your own advise and read.  The ability to simply read a text seems beyond many and this lack, along with the passionate need to project self superiority onto others, are perhaps two psycho-social aspects of the major problems I have seen in the training received from the American Academy at all levels–even prestige universities. I might add to this that for some odd reason, there exists an irrational, childish sentimentality of seeing the Age D’ Or in any and all  pre-literate, non-western cultures. Any dispassionate survey suggests that all cultures are composed of both beneficial and self-defeating aspects. And in ours, unlike many, if not most; from Hesiod onwards the West has been self-critical. Yes, the West does have flaws. But try living amid the Tuareg as a sexual minority or in Saudia as a woman. And the next time I get a staph infection, I think I will not choose the Inuit fermented whale blubber remedy. Or better yet, the auspicious, time honored, Old Kingdom Egyptian warm crocodile feces recipe. I, for one, do believe in the supiority of many aspects of the West,  antibiotics being simply one among them.  And please note: here we CAN DISCUSS, DEBATE; in many cultures on the globe, one cannot.

    • Jin The Ninja

      The depth and breadth of your knowledge is so impressive, I am just in awe;)

      That national G subscription really paid off in the end…:P

    • Anarchy Pony

      Unfortunately it will probably be resistant staph caused by the reckless over use of antibiotics.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      TLDR

      Give us some formatting next time.

    • Tuna Ghost

      Buddy I’d love to read all that, but you gotta format it into something legible.  I recommend paragraph breaks.  

  • Anonymous

    Good pick Jin. Its nice to see Native Americans highlighted for how clever they were. They were pretty quick for a supposed “Stone Age” people.

  • Redacted

    Good pick Jin. Its nice to see Native Americans highlighted for how clever they were. They were pretty quick for a supposed “Stone Age” people.

    • Jin The Ninja

      Thank you, my thoughts / sentiments exactly.

    • Anarchy Pony

      They didn’t live that way because they weren’t smart enough to invent backhoes. They lived that way because it simply worked.

  • Anonymous

    The depth and breadth of your knowledge is so impressive, I am just in awe;)

    That national G subscription really paid off in the end…:P

  • EyeoftheAxis

    Spoiler alert – Wasichu devours everything. With nothing
    left to feed it’s insatiable greed, it eats itself. Earth wins, Mother Nature
    may or may not ask humans back for the sequel. Children of people that can grow,
    catch and kill food stand a better chance making it to the Earth v3.0. Ghost
    Dance.

    “my name is wasichu. i know
    thee, i have found thee, & i will not let thee go.”
    http://www.dickshovel.com/wasichu.html

    Ghost Dance – Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble
    from their recording Music for the Native Americans.

    http://youtu.be/wTY2pmKguDg

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, my thoughts / sentiments exactly.

  • Hadrian999

    i think  you misunderstood me or i had a typo I meant Chania in Crete, beautiful city

  • Wanooski

    Depends on what you deem to be comfortable or elegant.

  • Wanooski

    Is Wasichu the same as Wetiko? I have seen more different spellings and interpretations of that word than any other.  

  • Wanooski

    Why is it you always seem to equate the concept of hunting and gathering tribal lifestyle and the survivalists like Grylls and Stroud who only teach people to get back to civilization?

  • Wanooski

    Unfortunately it will probably be resistant staph caused by the reckless over use of antibiotics.

  • Wanooski

    They didn’t live that way because they weren’t smart enough to invent backhoes. They lived that way because it simply worked.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    TLDR

    Give us some formatting next time.

  • Tuna Ghost

    While we currently venerate technology as the panacea for our 
    catastrophic environmental ills, what if we could contextually approach 
    and learn from sustainable civilizations that thrived in the distant 
    reaches of North America’s past?

    WTF does this sentence mean?

    The US, or at least those aware of the issues facing us in this regard, is counting on technology to save us from the coming environmental catastrophes in regard to sustainability.  Things like water shortages and food importation in the context of the energy crisis coming up because of oil shortages. Looking into the past to see how First Nation communities lived may lead to clues about how to mitigate the potential disaster.  

    That, ah, wasn’t too difficult, really.  

    Personally, I don’t think banking on technology is such a bad idea.  I’m not sure how useful it is to look to the past, when the communities were much much smaller and had significantly different (and smaller) resource demands.  But who knows, it could yield some interesting strategies.

  • Tuna Ghost

    You mean those “sustainable” civilizations whose inhabitants warred constantly with the Haida, and where people died at the age of 40 and infant mortality was at least 50%? Is that your definition of “sustainable”?

    Wait, what does any of that have to do with sustainability?  Why would he define “sustainable” that way when it has absolutely nothing to do with resource consumption?  

  • Tuna Ghost

    Buddy I’d love to read all that, but you gotta format it into something legible.  I recommend paragraph breaks.  

  • Tuna Ghost

    Ugh, China.  Give me Vietnam any day. I’ve been considering working in either Thailand or  Vietnam, I know I can find a job in Hanoi (beautiful city, or at least parts of it) but friends who worked in Thailand tell me it’s wonderful.  I’m not a big fan of Bangkok but I’m sure there’s somewhere near a beach that I could enjoy.  What do you recommend?  

    Actually, have I already asked you that?  I feel like I’ve already asked someone that…

  • Tuna Ghost

    Okay, but “noble savage” aside, what is your response to his main point?  The civilizations described in the article had much lower resource needs than our own–we have 300 million people and significantly different resource needs aside from water and vegetation, what about the resources needed for technology, transportation, or things of that nature?  

  • Anonymous

    Well i still find his points from above posts (both) to be fraught with highly  suspect language and a very old-fashioned understanding of anthropology contrary to the more venerable / contemporary holistic paradigm used both in aboriginal studies and cultural anthropology.  Disregarding that (which i admit could be my own bias) and to answer your question:

    I am NOT an anarcho-primitivist, and am not inclined towards a return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
    I do however, believe the 20th century has drastically shortened historical and cultural memory to the last 50 years, and anything beyond that tends to be disregarded if not forgotten entirely, particularly non-western bodies of knowledge. (okay big statement- so where to go from here?) – therefore i think there are lessons whether cultural or ecological that can be gleaned by looking at diverse civ. structures, particularly those of very high longevity.

    I don’t want to be mistaken for romantising those cultures- i recognise their “limitations” particularly in parallel to our current civilizational standards/ needs. However i do believe rather, that non-technological solutions are readily applicable to a diverse range of “industries.” And to move away from large scale industrialisation to localised means of productions- would dramatically alter how “we” (the problematic “we”) engage with our environment.

    I am also not anti-technology, in fact i believe the internet has tremendous democratic properties- and globalised ones at that. I reject the innappropriate use of technology i.e. large scale resource extraction like that of gold, diamonds and rare earth minerals- and instead would look to technological ways to recycle and reuse the high volume of materials already extant.

    To take this a step further, I also believe if we do not cease our current growth model of capitalism, and “development” it will lead us to far worse destruction than simply returning to pre-technological society.

    I fully embrace alterna. energy technologies, but I also reject their production using the same low standards as other industrial machinery that willfully neglect environmental costs.

    This model is referred to as “Post-Civ”

    http://theanarchistlibrary.org/print/Strangers_In_a_Tangled_Wilderness__Post-Civ___A_Brief_Philosophical_and_Political_Introduction_to_the_Concept_of_Post-civilization.html

    Or alternatively Municipalism/post-Scarcity Anarchism

    http://www.amazon.com/Post-Scarcity-Anarchism-Working-Classics-Bookchin/dp/1904859062

    I realise i was probably overy verbose in my response, but because i know you are a cogent and clever reader i thought i should at least attempt to be thorough.

  • Anonymous

    I realise my post turned overly esoteric and i apologise- merely my intention to clarify my views and respond to your question.

  • Anonymous

    My 2cents: vietnam over thailand.

    more beautiful, less westerners, great food ( preference really), and if i recall you live in Korea right now? vietnam some interesting historical parallels due to sinification- so depending on your interest in EA history might find it more appealing.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    Yeah, China’s not my favorite place either, but this is where the flow has placed me for now.

    Personally I prefer Thailand to Vietnam or anywhere else in SE Asia, but Cambodia is a close second. Most western type jobs will be in Bangkok; I haven’t seen very many “farangs” working in the resort areas, but there is a large western expat community in BKK. I have met a lot of Français in Vietnam but they are usually married to a Vietnamese. Hanoi is just a little too cold for my taste, but the weather is more mild than Korea. Happy Trails!

21
More in Archeology, Ecology, Environment, History, Permaculture
Wild & Crazy Sci-Fi Abilities of Real-Life Plants

Via Blastr: Plants don't get enough respect as sci-fi monsters. Sure, Triffids will always rule, but sci-fi baddies tend to be mutants, zombies, vampires and other altered mammals. This is...

Close