Dang, they’re really going for it now, eh?

The main difference in that span is not in how much land has been inhabited by people, but how those inhabitants cared for the land. The authors found that many ancient cultures were careful to preserve biodiversity hot spots, such as those found in the Amazon and the Congo, and as a result minimized or prevented ecological problems. The tipping point wasn’t the massive growth in the human population but rather how we shifted our land use. Since the industrial revolution in the 19th century, urbanization, deforestation, factory farming, mining and other irresponsible land uses have put our planet in danger.

Irresponsible” is just such a word…..

The current biodiversity crisis is often depicted as a struggle to preserve untouched habitats. Here, we combine global maps of human populations and land use over the past 12,000 y with current biodiversity data to show that nearly three quarters of terrestrial nature has long been shaped by diverse histories of human habitation and use by Indigenous and traditional peoples. With rare exceptions, current biodiversity losses are caused not by human conversion or degradation of untouched ecosystems, but rather by the appropriation, colonization, and intensification of use in lands inhabited and used by prior societies. Global land use history confirms that empowering the environmental stewardship of Indigenous peoples and local communities will be critical to conserving biodiversity across the planet.

Perhaps we can round up a few eohippus, giant ground sloths, a moa or two, to discuss this with?

Oh, that’s right, the indigenous eated them, didn’t they?

20 thoughts on “Dang, they’re really going for it now, eh?”

  1. The authors found that many ancient cultures were careful to preserve biodiversity hot spots, such as those found in the Amazon and the Congo

    I hear cannibalism really reduces your carbon footprint.

  2. It always comes down to malthusianism in the end.

    “The authors found what they expected to find and what they had looked for”


  3. Dennis, Climate-Change Denying Fruitcake

    White people bad, brown people good.

    Read the quote with a bit more care. It’s brown Brazilians and black Africans that are being criticized here, although I doubt the author realizes it.

  4. The origin of the phrase “slash and burn” for agriculture completely escapes them, I suppose?

  5. “…The authors found that many ancient cultures were careful to preserve biodiversity hot spots, such as those found in the Amazon and the Congo…”

    ‘Biodiversity’ was only invented as a concept over the last 40 years or so. Ancient cultures knew nothing about life-forms outsider their immediate vicinity, and cared less.

    Unless, of course, you think that there was a Stone Age Oxfam representative for each tribe.

  6. Nature generally doesn’t produce biodiversity. A single species is best suited to that particular environmental niche & out-competes everything else. The Amazon basin’s diverse because people made it that way. It was gardened.

  7. Put more succinctly, rich people can afford to care about the environment.

    Poor people do whatever they can do survive and feed their kids, and that usually involves slashing burning, and very often polluting (shitting in streams and lakes etc).

    So I would say this article is shit.

    But then it is in Salon, so I repeat myself.

  8. Death to plebs and everlasting power to the globo elite is the message of all these fuckers regardless of what particular coat the lies are wearing on any particular day.

    You should drop the Pigou tax tripe Tim. Not a crumb of support should we be giving to these lying and evil arseholes

  9. @BiS on “biodiversity”.

    To paraphrase the Princess Bride : “I don’t think that word means what they think it means…”

    “Nature” does produce biodiversity. Life has to, because of all the jokers Mother Nature and the Universe in general play with to try and erase it. So every possible survival strategy ( sometimes referred to as Niche ) within an environment gets tried.
    There’s actual Math demonstrating this.

    The thing is that what Environmentalists call “Biodiversity” isn’t. They simply count the number of highly specialised ( and preferably cuddly/shiney ) species in an environment and declaim those Perfect and Whole. And then start complaining about the fragility of their environment.
    Ignoring the harsh logic that the more specialised an organism is, the more tenuous its continued existence is. Because Mankind is the very least problem of that organism…

    I like how they keep up bringing up the Amazon, though.. The plant life there is worse than in Australia. It’s been waging a rather impressive war with an incredible chemical arsenal against itself ( competition) and fungi ( for obvious reasons) from well before humans even arrived. Everything there is toxic or poisonous, and the animals that live there have had to adapt to it. Including humans.. ( do try wild cassave, or potatoes, or tomatoes raw/not correctly processed.. interesting, if terminal, experience..)
    Which means almost everything there is specialised on just one or two species of plant at the base of their food chain.
    The panda is just a picky eater. Amazonian critters have no choice.. You can cope with only so much poison.

    Which makes for a lot of different “species” to Environmentalists. But from a biologists’ point of (long-term) view the Amazonian Forest is a Dead End.
    We’ve learned since the 19thC that it’s actually the generalists who form the basis of continued existence of Life on this planet, since they can adapt. Whereas the Shiny Bright Fragile Jewels of Life can’t, and are always poised on the brink of extinction, because Random Shit Happens in nature.
    And the Amazon has very few native generalists… And none that are cute and fluffy.
    And the Amazon itself is “mature”, but unstable.. Matter of time before the mountain chain that shelters it erupts/shifts/does something Nasty on a scale that wipes out large parts of it…

  10. Hmmm… The European Mountain Ibex survives (and has been spreading fast – it’s now nearly a protected pest) because King Victor Emanuel II of Savoy appropriated the Gran Paradiso (now a National Park) as his private hunting ground.
    Bit of a headscratcher for the socialist eco loons.

  11. One notes that biodiversity seems to have boomed around Chernobyl. All the wolves and other pests that had to hide from humans have come out to play now the place is taboo.

  12. The indigenous people actively farmed the Amazon for thousands of years. Shaping it to support their lifestyle.

    Humans have settled every biome on the planet except for Antarctica using Stone Age tools. There is no “untouched” wilderness on the planet.

  13. Nice to see the whole Noble Savage trope being warmed over again… Despite it being false and more than a teensy bit racist…

  14. Not that I’m an expert but my guess is that for indigenous people there were animals that were tasty, which they’d kill if they could and eat, animals that were dangerous which they’d kill if they could and eat if they were tasty and animals that were neither tasty nor dangerous which they left alone. Unless they found them a bit irritating when they’d just kill them. It’s what I would do.

  15. Grikath: +1000

    This should be one of the main lectures in Environment Studies 101. Then perhaps we would have fewer eco-loons.

    Err, sorry about that, I just had a fantasy moment – the finite resource of clue in the population precludes that.

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