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Case Studies of Why Damaging Environment.pdf

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McGill University
ANTH 206
Peter Rudiak- Gould

Tukano Amazon Basin civilization Subsistent society Protein comes from hunting/fishing Protein is difficult to obtain Males' job Starch comes from agriculture Manioc Females' job Consume vegetable for medication Attachment to land Belief the land was given by heroic ancestors Unwilling to accept immigrants Perceive it as a man-made environment Not exploited, but by being imbued by symbolic meanings Cosmology of finiteness Territory given is finite There is a limited amount of energy in the system The energy of the sun is finite Game is finite Human souls replenish the energy Learning from ecology Observe parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism Learning from animals Tell stories about extinct species due to poor ecological behavior Surplus Little or no interest Maximize knowledge, not material goods Regulating population Contraception Abstinence Abandoning elderly individuals Small families are valued Restrictions on hunting Birds' eggs, spawning fish, and reptiles are not eaten during breeding season Species can be hunted once their constellation has risen over the horizon The Master of Animals (MoA) Must get permission from him Ritual preparations before hunting Illness is blamed on the MoA THE SHAMAN IS THE ECOLOGICAL LEADER AND COORDINATOR Analysis What went right? Values Respect of environment Gift by ancestors Not over consuming/being greedy Small families Beliefs Finiteness MoA will punish them if they don't keep balance It's up to humans to replenish the environment Information Observe animals Know breeding seasons Past extinctions Herbal plants Coordination Small population Shaman Sense of unity Actions Regulating population Don't create surplus Restrict hunting Leeway Not much, because easy to exhaust Tikopia vs Easter Island Isolated Rely on local resources One kept its forest cover, the other was entirely deforested One thrived, one collapsed Tikopia Environment Small size Periodic scarcity
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