Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hunting Season and Natural Attrition

Originally posted Friday, October 14, 2005
In the United States we have hunting seasons to help us sensibly manage flocks and herds of those birds and animals we share our continent with. Both hunting associations and tree huggers research and study the environments, propose and implement improvements and manage the populations so they are optimal for everyone involved. Not an easy task, but the dedication of the people involved and the success they achieve is a testament to Mankind’s love for His fellow creatures and the planet we live on. Yet, it is sad we should even have to do so.

Millennia ago, population size was achieved through natural attrition. The sick and the weak were weeded out if they were unable to recover enough health and strength to keep up with the rest of the population and remain a contributing member. Only those with the best attributes were the breeders so the continued evolution and improvement of the species was insured. Our planet evolved with delicate and intricate checks and balances. If a herd - say of deer - were to become too robust, they would not be able to survive in their environment because there would not be enough food for everyone. When hunger sets in, it causes changes in the body, weakens many of the animals and the immune system degrades. Illness becomes wholesale throughout the herd, starvation takes its toll, many are harvested by predators because they are unable to escape and the herd is brought back down to a manageable size. Only those strong enough to survive will remain to heal and perpetuate the herd. As the herd weakens and thins, the environment heals and once again produces sustenance. Balance is achieved once again and, in two or three years, the herd and the land live in harmony.

There is one animal where this law of natural attrition is no longer allowed. Mankind.

As we evolved from ancient ancestors to modern man, born of predator inheritance, we learned to manipulate our environment to a much greater degree than our fellow creatures. Our intelligence allowed us to look at things differently than the others and so we inspected, studied and experimented with our environment. Thus we learned to change the environment to suit us instead of being at the mercy of our surroundings. We built protective shelters, draped ourselves with protective clothing, learned to plant the foods and husband animals compatible to us so there was more than what was found naturally. As a result, our species thrived. And burgeoned. When we grew too many in one area, we moved into another where we implemented the improvements favorable to our kind and we thrived again. And burgeoned. And grew too many and moved on again. As the millennia have ground on, we have continued to manipulate our environment in more inventive ways to insure the health and welfare of Mankind and have become so many we have put our world out of balance.

Watching educational television, we learn from an early age Balance is a precious and complicated necessity to insure the survival of not just one species, but all species. Destroy the rain forest in South America and you remove the largest source of oxygen provided for the entire planet. Wipe out an entire species of wolf in the arctic region and the herds are not trimmed, therefore the land is overrun and the plants are unable to hold up to the harvesting. The plants become rare, the insect population is thrown out of balance. The change in insect population causes birds to starve and other plants, requiring those insects for pollination, thin and disappear. By improving our environment we have improved our lot and, as a result, we are healthier, smarter, larger, more numerous beyond what our natural environment can support. As a result, our improvements and changes to our environment have thrown others out of balance and our own survival dictates we must step in and manipulate the environment for the others now to insure their survival and well being. We must be responsible and find ways to insure the rest of our world does not suffer with out continued growth.

Yet, our world is finite. There is only so much room. We are becoming a monoculture, displacing other species and environments at an alarming rate. People who would not have lived a mere century ago now do because of the advances we have made in the medical field. Swarms of people survive because we have learned to build up toward the sky, we have manipulated the hybridization and even the very genetics of plants and animals so we can maximize them to feed the still burgeoning human population. We are becoming too heavy for the planet we live on. More people require more plants and animals to feed us. More plants and animals require more land. More land displaces more species.

So - man developed a hunting season for his own kind. It is called War.

The strong, the smart and predominantly male members of the species are sent to battle against one another to establish territorial boundaries so each group has optimal land for the survival of their breed. It is the nature of our species, as with many others we share this planet with, to stake out a patch of land for the pride, herd, tribe, community - whatever you wish to call it - and defend that area from intruders. It is our animal instinct. We cannot escape our ancestry. We are the sum of everything and everyone who has gone before us. Thus we have what becomes the extended tribe: the nations. We are no longer mere communal predators. We are groups of communities spread out over entire continents now instead of mere acres or miles. As the hunters we were bred to be from the dawn of time, we war with one another, commit atrocities upon our own kind and subjugate the weaker of the species. Unfortunately, today in the twenty-first century, warring no longer thins our population. Even with the weapons we have for mass destruction, we cannot keep up with the increase in our numbers.

So our Mother Earth awakens and does what She must to insure Her own survival and for all of those for whom She provides for. Gaia has, over the last quarter century, provided more and more deadly and virulent diseases to help with the natural attrition our species should be subject to and to battle the more and more effective medications we manufacture to neutralize Her grand plan. Our kind still multiplies and lives longer. In the last decade, Gaia has begun to shake her skin. Storms more catastrophic each year. Earthquakes, eruptions, floods, infestations. She is washing and cleansing Herself as a person would remove ticks or lice to insure their own well-being. Hundreds, thousands and millions of living creatures are being removed with each shake. Tragedies of monumental proportion are witnessed - not just among humankind but plants, animals, insects and more - on a global scope.

Mankind must learn population control, just like we do when we declare hunting season on the animals and birds in the United States. War is becoming more and more abhorrent as Mankind evolves into a more compassionate being. War is becoming less and less an acceptable option. I foresee a time when hunting season on Mankind is gone altogether. We must insure the welfare of our planet and the welfare of all other species besides ourselves if we are to survive into the future millennia. We must, if we eventually succeed in eliminating predation on our own kind, find a way to limit our expansion in numbers to a size where we are not a monoculture, where we are not a burden any more on our Mother Earth. We must live in balance and harmony or we will perish. If we perish from over population and all the repercussions from such growth, we will take many - if not all - species with us and, quite possibly, Mother Gaia will also fail to thrive as well.

So ask yourself, “What can I do? How can I live more gently on this delicate planet? What changes can I implement in my life to help?” Look about you. Think of water conservation. Use less electricity. Recycle everything you possibly can. Repair things instead of throwing them away. Live so you throw away less. Use more biodegradeable products. Make your own if you can. Grow your own if it is within your ability. Care for others around you and help them to also achieve these things. Share. Trade. Barter. Use your inherited intelligence and creativity to see and improve your way of living to insure there is more for others and for tomorrow’s children - be they humankind or of another species. Live in joy and happiness seeking harmony within and around you. In this way, each and every person can begin a revolution of thoughtful, responsible and successful cohabitation. One person at a time. One person can make a difference and the change begins with you.

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