Earth and the Anthropological Effects of Malnourishment

In the Earths history human kind has changed and evolved and grown to become coarse to earth. Even though it is the place we inhabit many of the current majority populations seem to be discontented with earth and think that it is a large trash can for their industrialization. Personally I think that there is a key component that we are missing in the West today, even though we do have many people who are actively striving to help the earth. Malnourished is what I would call the earth, through my eyes I would say that there is a large problem with the earth nourishing and enriching human lives but an overall disdain for replenishing and caring for the earths needs.

downloadThe Earth is something that humans should care for and reside over, its our home! But something I think many people in the US can agree upon is that Earth is slowly dying and many are ignoring the problems and symptoms. There are even those that we know all too well who actively work to disprove Earths illness. But what exactly is earths illness? I think that the Earths diagnosis can be said plain and simple as a problem in the balanced reciprocity that humans should have with the earth.

Now, I understand that I am taking balanced reciprocity out of its original context since it is normally used to explain the exchanges between people through kinship or other ties. But I think that how humans relate to the earth is also a kinship type system, humans and the earth (so far) are inseparable, and I think that this proves solid grounds for me to use the idea of reciprocity in humans relationship to the earth.

From an Anthropological perspective we can see that while humans endure and are constantly in the grips of change and evolution we also are in the grips of our own self-made forms of change. Things like industrialization and government and trade are all forms of human made systems of change. And while we seem to be good(ish) at enduring our own forms of change we are failing to realize that some change needs to be exchanged back. When we strip a forest of its trees or a wood of its wildlife, we must replenish the Earth with something equal, otherwise our kinship system with the Earth will cease and the Earth will stop helping humans and we will meet our end. Which I don’t know about you but I am not looking forward too.

Luckily however, there still are people who are striving to keep the reciprocity alive and keep the Earth in a constant state of habitability. The more I get invested into anthropology the more I see the potential that people have to effect the industrialization and effects of major pollution. The integral work that anthropologist do in the field by documenting the advance technologies of people groups who know how to work with nature and not against her. I think that if we go out into the field and explore the world for answers to our own problems like responsible inhabitants of a planets then we will be able to discover new ways for our species to have a balanced reciprocity with their host. And I know this is a bit prep-talky but I really feel passionate and excited about our part on this blue/green marble and I think that we are rearing generation of people who know how to love the earth as the earth loves us.


5 thoughts on “Earth and the Anthropological Effects of Malnourishment

  1. This makes sense to a point, yes there are conservationists and even some regulations that industries are supposed to follow, like the forestry industry finally figured out that they were cutting down more trees than were growing back naturally so they started replanting forests. However, I would like to know how Anthropologists are going to convince the world to give up their cars, cell phones, and bottled water (well pretty much anything that comes in a plastic container really) to name a few. I believe we are all aware that the Earth’s oil reserves are going to be depleted at some point and probably rather soon (in Earth time not human time exactly) but the replacement of using electric cars is probably just as bad, in order to harvest the lithium needed for the batteries for these cars, along with just about every other electronic device, they have to make extremely large holes in the Earth’s surface. So while we are cutting down on emissions from our cars we are hurting the Earth in another way, by taking away land that could be used for crops, trees or habitats for animals and/or humans. While I totally agree with your overall premise, I’m just not sure how we go about doing it and convincing everybody that it needs to be done.

    1. Anthropologists have an important role because we are the ones who are able to work with the understanding of how humans live, or have lived. We are able to understand how the relationship between Humans and the earth has been, in order to help further explain how we got to the point we are at today. I don’t believe that there is ever going to be an answer that will make everyone dramatically change what they are doing, and to think that there is would be very short-sighted. The reason I wrote this journal entry was to make explicit that Anthropologists have a role in helping the worldwide push to fix the problems that humanity has formed on the earth. Since there are so many ways I could take that, like creating educational classes, marketing items that are biodegradable, changing to algae fuel, changing the way our cars emit gasses and an infinite many more ideas I chose not to get into specific ways that we can change people, but rather I focus on ways that we can help show people that the way we live life is not how it has always been or has to be. Anthropological accounts of humans working with the earth and showing the people of today that there are other options will simply opening a door for them. This grants them the opportunity to discover sustainability on their own. At the very least, it might help start more conversations about it. And that is why anthropologists are important in understanding and working with our ever-fleeting time left on earth, but I would not go so far as to say that anthropologists will stop people from using cell phones, or that this is a goal of environmental groups. We don’t want to stop people from being able to live life in a way that they are familiar, but we want to show them the inherent beauty in the world around them and put value back into man’s relationship with the earth. The point is not to change everything our population does, but it is to remind humanity of its own ability to live with the earth, and not on it.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. The Earth is slowly withering away. We have been far too focused on industrialization tactics in order to produce the most amount of profit as possible. We have indeed been disconnected from our Earth. We have forgotten that we are here to coexist with our planet, not overrun it and make it a money producing machine. The relationship we have with our Earth is much like a kinship system and we have forgotten that. We wouldn’t treat our closest friends and family this way. Why are we treating our home this way?

  3. I would not use the word “malnourished” per say but I’d rather use “exploited”. We have used the Earth’s resources in unsustainable ways and solely for our benefit. I think most push backs to greener policies is more started by those in power who benefit from this exploitation by the general public. I think it is an issue that must be solved collectively over individually and as long as people are being convinced that we are not to blame, it’ll be difficult to collectively fight this.

    On a side note, I really like the idea that our relationship with the Earth is a kinship system. While by exact definition, it may not be applicable, the idea of it makes sense.

  4. I think it’s innovative to re-frame our exploitation into one of reciprocity. Reciprocity occurs among equals – it’s time to think of the Earth as our equal and, boy, do we owe her a lot! I think that James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia hypothesis, has made a sort of similar argument.

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