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Some food for thought - the role of humans in the ecosystem

A topic by TheGiftOfGabes created May 22, 2021 Views: 135 Replies: 2
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I foun this post on reddit.


Humans are not parasites on the world. One thing that I think a lot of Environmentalists in America really overlook is that humans are supposed to be part of an ecosystem. Humans are part of the food web; we fill an environmental niche, just as much as beavers and wolves do.
We are SUPPOSED to interact with the environment- the problem arises when we begin interacting with the environment in UNSUSTAINABLE ways. This idea that we should try to "return" the environment to the way it was "before" humans so so so often ignores the way that Indigenous people all over the world were (and are) an important part of their environments- and trying to "preserve" those places without people filling their ecological niche can cause harm in super weird ways.
You know how its shitty for deer populations if you take out all of the wolves? It's just as bad if you stop all human hunting too. Humans hunting deer has been an important part of the food web for thousands and thousands of years! Deer populations NEED hunters- human, wolf, cougar- to stay healthy.
Yes- massive clear cutting of forests and strip mining is bad. HOWEVER, not allowing Indigenous people to practice traditional controlled burns of grass lands? Not only makes wildfires worse, but ALSO fucks up the bio-diversity of those grasslands. Totally unmanaged "pristine" grasslands without humans are actually less healthy than grasslands that are sustainably managed by people.
Mono-crop super farms are not good- but humans have been farming for thousands of years- tending for plants and increasing their yield, monitoring the soil, in ways that <em class="_7s4syPYtk5hfUIjySXcRE" <benefit="" those="" plants<="" em=""> and the other animals that eat them, and the other plants that use that soil, and the insects that make their home there. Sustainable, diversified farming >em class="_7s4syPYtk5hfUIjySXcRE">isn't bad</em>.
Laying out acres and acres of asphalt and oil pipelines? Bad. But digging natural cisterns in the dessert that catches rainwater for grazing animals to use? Benefits the entire ecosystem and all the animals in it.
We are part of the environment. We belong here. And the ecosystems that human beings evolved in and lived in need us just as much as we need them. We aren't parasites on the planet, we are a part of it. It's just that global capitalism has thrown us terribly out of balance. Colonialism and profit-seeking are the problem- not human beings existing.
The goal of environmentalism should not be to protect nature by keeping humans totally separate from it, but rather to restore balance with our interactions with nature, for sustainable practices that help us coexist with the ecosystems that we are part of. That we have been a part of forever. And that is hard with billions of people on the planet, yes, and we will need to be clever and resourceful and thoughtful to find ways of restoring that balance, it will take a lot of people working together to find those answers- but humans' greatest trait has always been our cleverness and our ability to work together.
As a bioscience student might I add:
Humans in the uk have been coppicing woodlands for millennia! It prolongs the life of the trees and lets light through for wildflowers to grow underneath.
My friend also monitored bats for his dissertation and found their populations were healthier in managed woodland!
Ooooo love that.


Thank you for sharing! “Humans are not the cancer of the Earth, capitalism is” is for sure an idea I’ve heard before and I think is important for solarpunk works. The goal is not complete disassociation from nature, but on the contrary, sustainable existence within it. And a capitalist system cannot exist sustainably within nature as long as it keeps exploiting its resources endlessly…


That’s a great perspective, thanks for sharing. It’s well argued. Unfortunately a lot of those skills of tending to the land are being forgotten. I was raised by a Master Gardener and I can barely manage houseplants and a few small garden plants. My roommate deeply studies the local biodiversity of our region, and it’s a skill that is beyond me. Those people who put the time in do deserve our support.