To solve problems,
understand how they started.
The purpose of this series is to address the question of Why.
Why is all of this happening?
Humanity has problems. Everyone knows that. Humans are messed up.
We can see it in the ecological crisis: We're behaving like an invasive species, at total odds with the planet that hosts us.
Even those among us who don't understand ecology still notice that something is "off" about Man. Maybe they refer to it as "the Fall." At one point, we're living in a Garden, in harmonious coexistence with the rest of the Living World - all the other plants and animals. And then something happened... and here we are.
So everybody knows something is going on.
The purpose of this series of dialogues is to figure out why.
Why is humanity like this?
How did we get this way?
Have we always been this way?
Was there ever a time when we weren't this way?
If so, when did we change?
How did we change?
Why did we change?
If we can learn the answers to these questions, then we'll be able to know how to go forward. If we can identify the source of the illness, then perhaps we can find a cure.
"So. Where should we begin our inquiry?"
Here's an idea:
We know that there are some people - some cultures - that don't have the sickness.
Perhaps if we learn from them, they can provide some clues?
You know. Indigenous peoples. Aboriginals. Tribes living in remotes parts of the jungles. Those kinds of cultures.
"Oh, I know what you're doing!
You're ROMANTICIZING indigenous peoples!
You're portraying them as if they're all super-spiritual, nature-loving, enlightened ones.
That's a classic Leftist ploy! It's a mischaracterization! It's designed to make Western Civilization look bad! And it's not true! The indigenous people that the West conquered were just as horrible towards Nature as anyone else!"
It's no ploy. It's the truth.
"And how do you know that?"
We can verify it with our own eyes.
In places where aboriginal peoples live (or lived until very recently), there are old-growth forests. Virgin forests. Forests that have never been cut down.
"OK, maybe those forests are nice and mature NOW... but how do you know they were always like that?
I mean, I read a theory that the Native American tribes were cutting and burning their forests all the time, and the only reason the European settlers found mature forests when they pushed into the interiors of the continents, was because the natives had all died from plagues (like smallpox) that the Europeans introduced. So by the time they went westwards, the natives had been gone for a century, and the forests had regrown."
Nope. It takes far longer than a century to produce a mature, old-growth forest. It takes many hundreds of years. Thousands, even. Far longer than the time-frame in which colonization has been going on.
And how do you explain trees being 1000+ years old?
In order for a tree to be 1000+ years old, humans must never have cut or burned it.
And in order for a forest to be filled with such trees, humans must have never cut or burned the forest.
There's our proof, staring us right in the face.
3000 years old - South Africa
800 year old oak tree
3000 years old - Mexico
2000 years old - California
3000 years old - Botswana
1000 year-old Yew trees - Wales
This proves that aboriginal peoples had a fundamentally different relationship with Nature, compared to the cultures that conquered and replaced them.
The conquering cultures even documented the spectacular abundance of Life that they found in the places inhabited by the aboriginal peoples.
Columbus wrote: [quote needed]
[Author's note: I remember reading quotes from the explorers about abundant life in the Americas... but I can't find the quotes now. If you know where to find them, please email me at Thanks!]
Varazzano wrote: [quote needed]
Cartier wrote: [quote needed]
Cabot wrote: [quote needed]
Lewis and Clarke wrote: [quote needed]
This is the kind of abundance the aboriginals were living with.
"Well, sure, because they had such small populations!"
No they didn't. North America had a native population of over 100 million people!
They managed to preserve all this Life, even with fairly large populations.
It wasn't their population numbers - it was their methods.
"How do we know those quotes weren't made up? Maybe those explorers were embellishing - perhaps even lying - because they wanted to drum up interest in their patron countries, to validate their expeditions, and continue receiving funding!"
All of them? They were all lying?
"Hmm... Well, it's a possibility, isn't it?"
We know they weren't lying, because these abundances were clearly visible to us (or to our ancestors).
We know, for instance, that they didn't drive species to extinction - because those species existed when "modern civilization" showed up!
For instance, they obviously didn't hunt the dodo bird to extinction, because dodo birds existed in the 1800's, when "modern civilization" arrived on the scene.
15,000 (perhaps as much as 30,000) years, with the dodo bird, when the aboriginals were in charge.
Then, 100 years of "modern civilization" in charge, and no more dodo bird.
Same for the passenger pigeon.
Flocks of this bird used to be so large they darkened the sky for days at a time, as they passed. Observers mistook the sound for thunder.
Passenger Pigeon Migration, 1800's
The passenger pigeon went from such abundance, to zero, in less than 100 years.
Same with so many other species, who once walked roamed, swam, and flew all across the continents, only to be winked out in an instant, relative to the total time-span of human history.
And those that remain, do so in drastically reduced numbers.
From the author Derrick Jensen:
The Tolowa Indians lived [in the Pacific Northwest]
for at least 12,500 years, and when the
dominant culture arrived, salmon still ran so
thick they turned entire rivers “black and roiling”
with their bodies.
Can you imagine so many whales
that the air looks foggy, just from their breath?
Can you imagine fish in such abundance
that they slow the passage of ships?
Can you imagine entire islands so full of
great auks that one European explorer said
they could load every ship in France and it
would not make a dent? Well, they did, and it did,
and the last great auk was killed in the 19th century.
How did the world get to be so full of life in the first place?