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Author Topic: humans, part of the natural world or seperate?  (Read 6633 times)
bigbearomaha
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« on: December 11, 2010, 11:19:11 AM »

First off the bat, what  I am looking for is objective discussion.  inferences, name calling, personal or psychological or religious insecurities put aside.

I have seen a few posts on this forum and others that seem to imply that mankind is a destructive interloper on the 'natural' world.

There have been the replies of humans being "stewards" and should behave as such for religious or other reasons.

personally, I say that mankind is part of the natural world.   I do not see our role as supposed to be stewards but more as responsible co-inhabitants.  good neighbors.

Huamns are not the only creatures here that do things with negative consequences for other creatures.

Beavers have been seen building lodges that dam up streams and small rivers denying water and resources to the inhabitants downstream that depended on those.  Did they do it to be mean and self absorbed?  no, they saw some water, had some wood and thought it looks like a good place to make home.

Predatory animals all over the world have been suspected of hunting other species to extinction.

insects have been known to wreak havoc and kill off entire sections of forests, fields, etc...  having a dramatic effect on the other creatures in that environment now without food, shelter or resources.

as a species, mankind can demonstrate some pretty selfish and destructive behaviors, it's true.  but we can also demonstrate a great many beneficial and positive behaviors as well.  

We have the ability to learn, adapt and improve.  As we learn about the workings of the natural world around us and we make conscious decisions to not squander those resources or  do things that are un-necessarily destructive, we show that we are very capable of being such good neighbors and we are most certainly not evil, and reprehensible beings determined to kill off the rest of the world.

No,  I don't think as a species, humans are "stewards" of the rest of the world, or somehow separated or apart from it.   The Darwin awards give us ample suggestion that there are times we are about a breath away from removing ourselves from the world as much as we are to destroy others.

We are fortunate to be self aware and have opposable thumbs and all the other perks of being human.  It doesn't necessarily make us superior creatures though.  It does make us capable of doing more though.

and that, my friends, is only my one personal opinion.  You are free to share your own, I won't judge.   (I may not agree, but I won't judge, at least not out loud, heh heh heh.)

 grin
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2010, 11:54:25 AM »

if you believe in creation, you have to believe that God created the earth and man with a plan and he was smart enough to foresee all paths and account for them.

if you believe in evolution, then we have made it to the top of the food chain because we were the strongest.  thus, we are the rulers until something else eats us.

either way, man is at the top.  to the extent that we can engage in rational thought, we need to consider our environment.  even animals will over graze, or over hunt, and if they have no place to go, they will starve.  that's not a bad thing.  the weakest die, the strongest survive.
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 03:50:52 PM »

The funny thing to me about our stewardship, or "penance for having the audacity to exist." depending how you see it. is that even the greenest greenies seem to be trying to keep  ecologies that are changing from changing and staying exactly the same permanently. - nature doesn't do that.
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 02:54:10 PM »

   i think that because most people think that we are at the top of the food chain ( i'm not 100% sure of this one there are many bacteria and viruses that prey upon us as well as other animals ) we find ourselves in the "big brother" role taking care of animals that can't take care of themselves and even the planet.

   i believe that there is an ebb and flow to everything that takes place. when food is good for the prey animal, their numbers increase dramtically until the begin to consume all of that food, meanwhile as their numbers increase, they become a plentiful source of food for the predator and their numbers will inxcrease until they consume most of their food source. this keeps their relationship in balance.

  the same is true with people. in some areas people are preyed upon by animals. tigers, sharks, etc. but also diseases and bacteria, but  medical advances  contribute to our own demise by increasing populations and extending lifespans, because there aren't enough sustainable food sources to go around, this is why there is hunger in certain places and excess in others. every medical and technological advance that is used to bypass, defeat or limit the effectiveness of this system of checks and balances throws things more out of balance and the problems escalate.

i think every animal including humans does things for selfish reasons. most animals are only selfish in terms of their own survival and the survival of their offspring. humans are a bit different in that sense though. instead of mere necessities for survival we tend to like material posessions. your example of the beaver is a good one. they just act and don't consider any negative consequences. we do the same thing.nobody seems to care that stringing 30 miles of christmas lights increases the burning of the fossil feuls needed to produce the electricity for those lights thus contributing to pollution and (possibly global warming if it exists ). some people are actually under the impression that electricity is green energy, even though most of it isn't. i guess we are just another animal on the food chain that has just enough brains to be dangerous.
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 04:51:45 PM »

I'm kind of lost.

I have used the term "steward" many times in many ways. I see that is was used in the original post. But I am not sure why it is being used in the manner that it is. I see it as a negative. Why?

To me, being a good steward of the environment means understanding the impacts we have, and taking the least intrusive path that we can. It's not a tree huggin thing. It's just a commonsense approach.

If I read this correctly, because we are on the top of the chain, I guess we should have the right to dump oil down the drain, burn tires and plastics for heat, and do anything else we want, with no concern for the environment around us.

I'm a money hungry capitalistic pig that hunts, eats meat, drives a big truck, and from what many would suggest.....not environmentally friendly to the extremists of the world. I detest Peta, but hate animal cruelty and wasteful acts such as hunting for sport with no food taken.

But also try to be a good steward of the environment in any way I can. I limit chemicals around the house, support environmental groups that are not extreme, and love nature. I agree we are at the top of the food chain. And I feel because we do have the power and influence over the environment, to destroy it or manage it, that it is our responsibility to do the best we can.

I do not agree with ANY governmental control or politics controlling the masses for such items. But I do think we should all consider ourselves stewards of the environment. Nothing wrong with that. At least I think that way.

When did the term "Steward" become something seen as negative?
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 07:22:13 PM »

 I don't know if others see the word "steward" as negative or not bjorn.  I know for myself,  I don't see it as appropriate or the type of role I see myself and my family taking on.

There is an appropriate time and place for being a "steward" it's not a bad or good thing.

I use "steward" as the dictionary defines it which is one in a position of superiority.   I don't agree that humans are necessarily "superior.   Of course,  I don't suggest that humans are inferior either. you don't have to agree.

To  me it boils down to responsibility for one's own actions.

If  I mess something up then  I intend to fix it.  

If  I do something that tears up my neighbors yard, I do what it takes to fix it and make sure  I don't do it again.

I'm not a "steward" of my neighbors property, but I am a good neighbor.   What makes my human neighbor more deserving of receiving that kind of approach and "wild" nature not deserving of the same?

most dictionary definitions of steward describe it as someone who is "in charge" of the care and/or service of a group, property, location, etc...

I prefer to take the standpoint of being good neighbors instead.   again, one doesn't have to agree.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 07:55:21 PM »

Ah yes. I see now. Your using your own definition.
I had never seen the definition include "a position of superiority".
That explains it.
Thanks.

And yes....I do disagree.   grin

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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 08:10:19 PM »

open your dictionary bjorn.  you will see the definition  I use is the same as in the books.

from The Free Dictionary

Quote
stew·ard  (strd, sty-)
n.
1. One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.
2. One who is in charge of the household affairs of a large estate, club, hotel, or resort.
3. a ship's officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangements.
4. An attendant on a ship or airplane.
5. An official who supervises or helps to manage an event.
6. a shop steward.
7. a wine steward.
intr. & tr.v. stew·ard·ed, stew·ard·ing, stew·ards
To serve as a steward or as the steward of.



notice th euse of terms such as " one who manages"  "one who is in charge",  "one who supervises", "ships officer"

all positions of authority and perceived superiority ( talk back to your ships officer and see if you don't get charged with in-subordination.  very much a situation of "superiority"

of course you disagree.   I expected as much.  don't really care as long as you get your facts right.

btw, did you bother to read the whole post I made or just stopped there thinking you had something to argue about?
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 08:12:50 PM »

I see your point BigBear.  I've been through some of the same.  Being a hunter and an outdoorsman, I tend to view myself as just another predator.  When criticized for being a hunter, I'm baffled.  All of my ancestors as far back as I can find were hunters, yet the typical anti-hunter thinks that it's ok for a coyote to hunt because it's natural for them, but not for me.  I've been camping with those are into the "take only pictures" philosophy and frankly it baffles me.  I tend to eat the mushrooms and berries and herbs.  If I try to identify a plant, I pick a leaf and crush it to smell it.  The idea of not leaving the path and not picking anything is absurd to me...  I view myself as part of the rest of nature, not above it.  I believe my responsibility is to treat everything and everyone with respect.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 08:15:09 PM »

Quote
All of my ancestors as far back as I can find were hunters, yet the typical anti-hunter thinks that it's ok for a coyote to hunt because it's natural for them, but not for me.

been there many times myself.

good to hear from you.
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2010, 08:17:39 PM »

Well,you can probably rest assured that if man self annihilated himself tomorrow,the planet earth would keep on revolving around the sun and rotating on it's axis.
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2010, 08:22:31 PM »

And although I agree with both of you in theory, if you were to come across a number of carcasses with only the antlers removed, I think you both would be wishing for a little stewardship, maybe even a bit of government interference.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 08:28:00 PM »

 Iddee,  I believe in self control, not gov't control.  there is nothing wrong with expecting people to bee better than that.

buzzbee...you got that right.
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 08:33:04 PM »

Bear, so do I, but all people don't have it. Then I believe in giving them a bit of "help". Like 10 years in the slammer.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 08:43:20 PM »

nah.   I discuss it with them myself.  I let them decide if they want to jump.
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JP
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2010, 08:44:57 PM »

I think M.B. hit it right on the head, treat everything and everyone with respect.

I don't buy into the idea that man can live off of vegetables alone and I've seen humans who believe otherwise suffering miserably because they believe a rat is a boy is a termite or whatever that idiotic saying is.

If an animal's life is taken it should be done so as swiftly as possible to minimize suffering. Of course I happen to be very fond of animals so this opinion is bias.

I don't see us being entirely separate from the natural world and I do believe it is our duty to practice good conservation practices.  I believe we are stewards of the land and we should be good ones at that.

Big Bear, I believe there was a specific reason you created this thread, something that prompted you to begin this discussion.

What was it?


...JP

 

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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2010, 08:57:19 PM »

like  I said in my original post,  I have seen people trying to portray humans as evil menaces to the planet who are responsible for every perceived wrongdoing.

 I disagree with that notion myself, many other creatures in the 'natural world' do what we think of as destructive things yet are perceived as good.   I think the notion of being thought of as superior or "in charge" makes people think we are above doing the same types of things other creatures do, like hunting, etc... and leads to the notion that if we do it, it is on purpose and done for "evil" purpose.   I disagree.

I think we are as likely to kill ourselves off as we are of the rest of the world.


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mac
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2010, 08:19:46 AM »

Of course we are part of the natural world. How can we not be. If your in it you are part of it. rolleyes However we do tend to be an evil menace at the same time. 2 sides of the same coin.
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kathyp
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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2010, 11:08:18 AM »

a grizzly in the mountains is an evil menace also!
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2010, 11:38:06 AM »

First, let me say I agree with JP.


BigBear,
Although you expected as much from me, to which I am not sure if this was denigration or a show of superiority, I am still at a loss on your choice of words and thinking stewards of the environment are classified with terms such as "superiority".

From the same dictionary you used "The free dictionary" I find.....

Noun 1. superiority - the quality of being superior or high qualitycaliber, calibre, quality - a degree or grade of excellence or worth; "the quality of students has risen"; "an executive of low caliber"
choiceness, fineness - the quality of being very good indeed; "the inn is distinguished by the fineness of its cuisine"
first class - the highest rank in a classification
first water - the highest quality gems
ingeniousness, ingenuity, cleverness - the property of being ingenious; "a plot of great ingenuity"; "the cleverness of its design"
low quality, inferiority - an inferior quality
 2. superiority - the quality of being at a competitive advantagefavorable position, favourable position
advantage, vantage - the quality of having a superior or more favorable position; "the experience gave him the advantage over me"
edge - a slight competitive advantage; "he had an edge on the competition"
inside track - a favorable position in a competition; "the boss's son had the inside track for that job"
upper hand, whip hand - position of advantage and control
 3. superiority - displaying a sense of being better than others; "he hated the white man's superiority and condescension"arrogance, haughtiness, hauteur, high-handedness, lordliness - overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors
 4. superiority - the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits

Onto itself, I find no definition of superiority that would cast a negative on stewards on general terms. Certainly there are arrogant people in every corner of social groups.

I think you used a term to make a point, but is way off topic.

I understand your points trying to be made. I think perhaps you are trying to make some comparison of those environmentalist and others who think they know better than others, demand from others by zoning and codes designed to "save ourselves", and everything else that limits freedom.

But being a good steward of the earth, or anything else, does not automatically assign "superiority". You can be in charge of your own backyard (being a steward of your property) without negative connotations being thrown that you are superior to another person.

I do not like environmental extremists and social justice folks. But I think there are many more good stewards of the environment, including hunters, backyard gardeners, beekeepers, and nature loving folks...who display no "superiority" qualities that you suggest. Being a good steward is one thing. Being an arrogant, controlling jerk who wants to tell others how to live, is quite another.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 11:48:12 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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