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No Impact Man: The No Impact Philosophy

In 1870, the Menominee inventoried 1.3 billion standing board feet of timber on their 235,000 acres. Since then, they have harvested nearly twice that amount—2.25 billion board feet. Considering the “clear-cutting” methods of the corporate lumber merchants you hear about, which completely strips land of its trees, you’d expect that the Menominee would have barely a single tree left, not to mention any forest wildlife. In fact, they have 1.7 billion board feet left, more than they had in 1870, and a thriving forest ecosystem.

That’s because the Menominee tend to cut only the weaker trees, leaving behind the strong mother trees and enough of the upper canopy for the arboreal animals to continue to inhabit. They have figured out what the forest can productively offer them instead of considering only what they want to take from it.

This is largely how every other species on earth lives—in harmony with the environment. Lions neither starve themselves nor gorge to the point of wiping out the gazelle population. Instead, they promote the health of the gazelle herd by culling its weaker members and preventing herd overgrowth which in turn prevents overgrazing of the savannah. Animal waste does not poison the ground but fertilizes the soil so that it can produce more vegetation for the animals to eat. Bees feed on the pollen of flowers but far from damaging them they provide the crucial service of pollinating them.

No Impact Man: The No Impact Philosophy

Links for 9/21/07

When is soon?

When is soon?

As an Adult with ADD I know when “now” is and I know when “not now” is. I understand that later means sometime after “now“. I have fairly decent idea of when 9:30 pm, 2:00 am and 1:45 pm are. What I really don’t seem to get is when “soon” really is. I guess it’s some time after now but before later? When is soon actually not soon anymore but later?

When is soon?:

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morality in smart animals, like human beings and elephants and chimps

what do christians do with this story?

Two elephants walk together at night. (No, this isn’t a joke—it’s a scene from a wildlife reserve in Thailand.) There is heavy rain and the older elephant slips and falls in the mud. She’s unable to get up. The younger elephant, unrelated to her companion, stays with her for most of the night. The next day a group of mahouts, elephant caretakers from the wildlife reserve, try to hoist the elephant up to her feet with braces and ropes. In all the commotion—a crowd has gathered to watch the rescue—the younger elephant remains by the side of her fallen friend. The mahouts and the crowd shout for her to move out of the way, so they can get better leverage. But she won’t budge. Instead, she burrows her head under the body of the other elephant and tries to lift her up. She does this several times, risking injury in the attempts. Incredibly, the elephant appears to recognize that the mahouts want to help rather than hurt her friend. She times her pushes, or so it seemed to me, with the hoisting of the mahouts.

The Believer – Interview with Frans de Waal