What would your ideal, sustainable world look like?
The question—asked by Ingrid in the comments on my last post—made me stop and think. Ingrid wondered what solutions I see: solutions that would bring humanity into a balanced relationship with ecological systems, and reduce the suffering we inflict on our fellow creatures.
Years ago, I had a vision for such a world. In it, everyone would be vegan and all would be well.
In one sense, I no longer have that kind of vision. I don’t know how many humans the planet can support or for how long. I don’t know what resource conservation-and-management approaches might work globally.
Take food, for instance. I don’t subscribe to any universal “sustainable food” paradigm. (Over the years I’ve let a lot of subscriptions lapse, to magazines and ideologies alike.) I don’t know how to feed 6.9 billion people. In fact, I don’t think there is any one way. I’m more inclined to think in terms of specific, local approaches.
In the Arctic, for example, I imagine hunting will continue to be central to a sustainable food system. In places like Vermont, hunting will play a much less significant role. Though wild meat is central for some families, Vermonters drag home only a million pounds of deer and moose meat each year—less than two pounds of meat per state resident.
In another sense, though, I do still have a universal vision, for today, for tomorrow, and for whatever future comes our way:
- I’m convinced that our behavior ought to be rooted in respect and reciprocity, restraint and compassion. I think that all of us—humans, other animals, and the planet—will benefit if we Homo sapiens cultivate genuine regard, for ecological systems and for individual creatures.
- I also believe that our relationships with nature ought to be rooted in celebration, in a deep appreciation for the material world and our participation in it, for all the lives and deaths intertwined with ours.
That’s part of why I hunt. Hunting is one of the ways I cultivate that attitude of respect, that awareness and compassion, that sense of mindful engagement and appreciation.
© 2011 Tovar Cerulli