Recovered memory

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Reduce, reuse and recycle, yes by all means. But we need to remember too. Because there are a few things we need to save from the ongoing, already very successful project to destroy our individual and collective memories and imaginations.

Item: Water harvesting, distribution, and conservation

Anupam Mishra is not afraid to use terms like beauty, heart, gratitude, and glory in discussing the practical engineering genius at work managing the limited water in India’s Golden Desert – from 800 years ago and continuing through to today. And another r-word as well: Respect. This is also one of the most charming talks you’ve heard recently. (You might want to turn on the English subtitles.)

Item: Food production

This style of farming existed all over the world for thousands of years. Every so often, moderns are surprised, again, as if we were all born yesterday, to discover that it actually worked. One of the favorite papers I’ve seen recently pointed out that just this same system had produced one of the most prized food items of modern times: Neotropical roots of a Polynesian spice: the hybrid origin of Tahitian vanilla, Vanilla tahitensis (Orchidaceae)

Item: The place of fire in land management

It is embarrassing to even point this out. The Yakama knew it long ago, as did the Colville. But no one would listen. Dryland ecosystems evolved partly in response to fire. The notion of declaring that there will simply be no more fire makes no more sense than deciding there will be no wind or rain.

Mitigating GHGs through Indigenous fire management and reforestation

It’s not a complicated proposition: small, well-timed, controlled burns prevent large catastrophic ones. The abandonment of these practices also explains the disappearance of the huckleberry fields from the Cascades.

What does it take to eradicate the notion that indigenous people simply wandered the earth mindlessly picking up what happened to fall in front of them?

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3 Responses to “Recovered memory”

  1. sisdevore Says:

    Wonderful. I remember reading about some archeologists who unearthed a traditional irrigation system from ancient Peru (?), which was unfortunately replaced with “superior” Western forms post-conquest.

    How I love search engines:

    http://www.ibiblio.org/london/agriculture/forums/Patricia-Dines/msg00037.html

  2. artemis54 Says:

    Meanwhile, the pope opens Glory Holey Week with a Hand Job Sunday mass. All these desert religions seem to revolve around a core of male sexuality gone wrong, twisted and ingrown.

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