Let me not be a leaver

Rick Knight (rknight@platinum.com)
Fri, 18 Jul 97 10:58:37 CST

Rick Knight wrote (regarding taker/leaver cultures as espoused by
Daniel Quinn in the book "Ishmael")

I would regard a third world shepherd as a leaver, a western world
rancher as a taker. The distinction being on their overall impact on
the world at large. The shepherd's flock might eat up the grass in a
meadow which locally may locally impact the population but a modern
cattle facility can spoil groundwater and produce over abundant
amounts of methane, not to mention how much grain it takes to feed the
cattle that one doesn't get back nutritionally or substantively in t=
he resultant meat or dairy consumption for which the cattle are

Anton Sherwood replied (no <G>s so I'll have to assume

Your low-impact shepherds stripped the Mediterranean of its trees
and enlarged the Sahara.

and I am compelled to respond:

Regarding "my" shepherds, do you have any data on how many centuries
it took for their systematic devistation to take place? If this data
exists, could you provide me with a correlation on their environmental
impact vs. the U.S. environmental impact in the last, say, 100 years.
Yeah, those shepherds, a swarm of locusts they were. And look, <G>.

Leaver cultures screw up environmental balance quite often but it is
not planetary in impact. When they (or their herds) consume all that
is available, it has a direct effect on population since they have
impacted their own sustainability. But because of their limited
scope, they presumably do it unintentionally because their focus is on
day-to-day survival.

Correlation: the first banks stored grain because somewhere along the
line someone figured we didn't have quite enough foresight to control
our consumption. Of course we were good at burning and pillaging back
then as well. The idea to store grain (the gold seed turned into the
gold coin) was a good one but the incorporation of which has created
a much more severe measure of imbalance and one that has a viable
global threat attached to it.

Since we've evolved beyond what nature intends as keeping a balance on
population (you eat it all at once or there are too many of you, you
starve), I am hoping we can swing the pendulum a bit back towards
center. We've ensured our survival against need but can we guarantee
our survival against greed? We have the technology, the intelligence
and the organizational structure to implement such a paradigm but our
greed and ego seem to be hell-bent on prevailing. Looks like there is
still some evolving to do...