I was fortunate enough to see this talk by Kat Anderson at Toby’s Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station, CA on August 4th, 2007. Her book, “Tending the Wild” was a very important resource for my Master’s Thesis. Her research is essentially about how Native Californians managed the entire landscape in a way that increased the health of native ecoystems and enhanced biological diversity — particularly, how their practices lead to increased harvests. Instead of what we think of as “wilderness”, native peoples had no such division in their understanding in nature. We might say that California was their garden, but our concept of “garden” skews this even further. Anderson’s research has potential to bridge the new feral movement and the integral invasion biology research with the California Native Plant Society and similar perspectives. Tending the wild is a topic that is very imporant to me, for a variety of reasons. The very notion of tending the wild and Anderson’s research integrates many cultural, environmental, managerial, and spiritual paradigms together in such a simple and beautiful way. Our modern culture, scarily advanced in so many ways, doesn’t have the foggiest clue how to manage the land. If we did, we wouldn’t have caused half the world’s species to go extinct in the blink of an eye, and have failing agricultural systems and global pollution. Although so many fascinating practical and political agendas can be taken away from her talk, the thing that excites me the most is that this type of thinking may help lead us back to Right Relationship.
This video is only a clip from the talk, part of the Q and A session at the end.