For a majority of human existence our numbers lived exclusively as indigenous herd creatures, roaming in tribes around regions that were as much a part of our genetic patterning as our DNA. During the past few thousand years there has been a marked change in this pattern and so I thought it might be good to ask the question.
'Are we shipwrecked and just keen to go home?' (Did William H Golding have it right in Lord of the Flies? Are we all just children on a desert Island, and what started out ok has just gotton a bit out of control?)
According to a range of scientific studies, as recently as 35000BC (couple a minutes ago in history of the world terms) humanity's population was around 3 million. We lived exclusively in the African continent so our scientific brethren would have us understand, and we roamed as hunter gatherers, like most mammals, within 'regions' we were pre-disposed to be comfortable in.
Something changed, maybe climate, maybe conflict with other species in our environment, much is speculated but little appears to be certain. Nonetheless this appears to have triggered a change (evolution) in humankind's thinking processes and we adjusted our living patterns in two ways. We discovered agriculture and domestication of meat, and we became 'species capable' of living outside of our previously limited habitat.
Since that time we have encroached upon every land mass on the planet, our population has grown from 3 million to a little over 7 billion. To give you some idea that is 2333 people for every 1 person back then. At the rate we are growing some suggest that figure will rise to 10 billion by 2050. Is this a sign of human 'health' or human 'dis ease'?
Tis only my thinking but we appear to be exhibiting the symptoms of a virus or cancer. Host hopping, mutating, and killing off what we come in to contact with. Not feeling so good?
The world’s 370 million indigenous peoples suffer from disproportionately, often exponentially, higher rates of poverty, health problems, crime and human rights abuses, the first ever United Nations study on the issue reported today, stressing that self-determination and land rights are vital for their survival.
In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
In Australia, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11.
In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average.
Worldwide, more than 50 per cent of indigenous adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes – a number predicted to rise.
Although indigenous peoples make up only 5 per cent of the global population, they constitute around one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people. In both developed and developing countries, poor nutrition, limited access to care, lack of resources crucial to maintaining health and well-being and contamination of natural resources are all contributing factors to the terrible state of indigenous health worldwide...
Tis only my thoughts but for me the alarming part about this report commissioned and published by the UN in 2010, excerpt above, is surely that, if only 5% of the worlds population are indigenous, then 95% of the worlds population are not! Indigenous peoples weren't suffering these alarmingly high impacts upon their rates of mortatlity and quality of life until such time as their non indigenous neighbours (invaders) showed up. Further I guess is the question of whether the human race is now 'over populous' worldwide. If either being non indigenous or indeed being caught up in a herd far too large for the surrounding economics to manage is harming the whole, then surely at some point humanity's efforts to prevent Darwin's 'Survival of the Fittest' will fail; and perhaps another law of nature; Newton's 'what goes up must come down' will prevail...Might it not be a better consideration to focus our efforts on harmony within ourselves, and a ceasefire with nature before it's too late??