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A Few Words on "Mother Nature"
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I write this addendum to the site because many folks have forgotten what nature and wilderness are all about. When I surf around the net, I discover abundant quantities of Birkenstock brain-mulch on the subject of nature, most of it being pure crap. When I watch the news, I hear about hikers dying. This is because many shrub-cuddling types out there have forgotten the truth about nature, and are now yammering on about how warm and fuzzy it all is. The truth is that nature can be a cruel bitch.
Yes, Mother Nature is truly a woman. She may be a joy to visit, but if you live with her full time, you know that there are times when it’s best to be as far removed from her as possible. For those living in her domain, she can be a cruel queen who gladly sentences her subjects to the most grisly and ghastly types of torture and death imaginable. To live at nature's mercy, one must abandon all notions of graceful golden years and those of a peaceful death in one's sleep. Nature has other plans... slightly less peaceful ones. Ma Nature prefers disembowelment and tearing of flesh while one kicks and screams, bleeding out slowly while watching ones flesh be eaten. Not very warm and cuddly, eh? Many of nature's inhabitants die by a wide and colorful array of causes including freezing to death, dehydration, slow starvation and disease . In nature, a broken leg typically means a slow death of starvation… or the quicker route via predator as mentioned above. Most of natures “little miracles” never make it to maturity. Yup, those cuddly baby creatures are but quick snacks for the rest.
We humans easily forget the truth about nature in this modern age. We live in a world of safety and comfort, a world where immediate dangers to our well-being have not only been virtually eliminated, but outlawed as well (seatbelt laws, helmet laws, etc, etc). As such, we begin to see only the beauty in our surroundings, and we forget about all the dangers and inherent brutality that make the system work.
We have forgotten what a bad host Mother Nature can be because there are very few societies left that truly live at her mercy. The small handful of tribes that do, typically consider a 40-year-old person to be a tribal elder. Living to 50 or 60 is almost unheard of, as these tribes have fantastically high mortality rates from all manner of causes (none of which you'd care to partake of). We have, for some odd reason, seen fit to romanticize these kinds of cultures to the extreme. What I don’t understand is why none of the soapbox proselytizers are flocking to join these tribes. It’s an odd dichotomy that the same folks who rant about returning society to mother nature are the same types who would be amongst the first to perish under her rules.
One of the best examples of romanticizing proximity to nature is the hype surrounding Native American culture. Schools teach our kids that Native American culture was somehow superior to our own, and that they peacefully coexisted with both nature, and with their fellow man. Simply put, this is pure bullshit, and is just one of many ways that history has been bastardized to fit into “politically correct” dogma.
Upon the arrival of Europeans to N. America, the Native American “culture” was pretty close to that of Neanderthal man. They were largely and necessarily nomadic, as they had no real concept of farming, no livestock and lacked any kind of game management. Many tribes would quickly deplete all resources in an area, and then move on to other areas. Everything they owned had to be either carried or dragged across the land, as they had not yet invented the wheel and had no livestock or domesticated animals. Although Western art is fond of portraying the "noble American Indian astride his trusty horse", there were no horses here until the Europeans brought them*.
Sickness, disease, famine and warfare all claimed a good share of many tribes each year. In Northern areas, the winter claimed many as well. If one tribe came across another, there was seldom any kind of sit-down with a peace pipe. It almost always meant a turf war. To the victor went the spoils (the women, food, and all other possessions). Any men not killed in the fighting were either ritualistically killed or taken as slaves. There is much evidence today showing that Southwestern Indians sometimes ate those taken as prisoners, though the forensic researcher who first proved it has been harassed and threatened ever since.
Returning to modern times, another of the great myths of our age is that industrialized nations live at odds with nature, and are destroying what remains of it. This cannot be further from the truth. In fact, the polar opposite is true. The third world definitely lives closest to nature, yet they are rapidly destroying it in all manner of ways. Living off the land in the third world means burning, hacking, slashing, killing, and otherwise destroying all that gets in your way. HUGE tracts of forest and jungle fall to “slash and burn farming”. The people do not give a rat’s ass about nature, as they are more concerned about where their next meal will come from. In reality, the only folks in the third world who seem to care about environmental issues are those who are looking for money from the industrialized nations.
The countries that actively preserve and defend nature are the industrialized nations. Europe, North America and the wealthier parts of Asia are filled with pristine, unpolluted forests, grasslands, mountains, and all other manner of nature. These are preserved and cared for simply because we have the time, money, and resources to do so. With modern agricultural methods and technology on our side, we produce more food from less land, and we place a higher value on what remains.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. Those who scream the loudest are not necessarily the most correct. For instance, the logging industry has planted more trees, and done more for preserving the forests of North America than all of the “nature preservation” groups ever have. Hunters, likewise, have paid for the management of, and done more for the preservation of wildlife in North America than all of the Anti-Hunting groups put together. These activist groups may yell a lot, but typically don’t actually do anything positive.
The point of all this is that it is a fine thing to teach the youth of today that nature should be preserved and cared for, but it is a dangerous trend to teach that nature is somehow warm and fuzzy and that man is cruel. Historical distortions do not enlighten. Man is, after all is said and done, the ONLY creature in all of nature that actually cares about the environment. It is fine and dandy to teach low-impact woodsmanship, but where survival is concerned; YOU are the only part of nature that should be preserved.
In summation, if you’re in a survival situation, the only thing you need to know about a spotted owl is that it tastes like chicken.
*There were an abundance of horses and even camels in N America up until the end of the Pleistocene era, whereupon they all died out. These were never domesticated by local populations. Horses were re-introduced to N America by the Spanish Conquistador Cortez. Indians of that era had never seen horses, and at first thought riders to be godlike creatures. They had never witnessed such mastery over nature. The Spanish prohibited Indians from owning or riding horses, but the natives eventually acquired horses in the form of “mustangs”. The word "Mustang" is derived from a Spanish term for a stray horse.
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