why we need global warming now. step four
The Fourth Step Among the things about humans that I find annoying, and there are many such things, is that so many people claim that there was a Golden Age in North and South America before the European conquests of the continents. They envision a world where Indians[i] lived in harmony with the planet and treated the earth on which they lived with the respect due a deity or deities. What utter nonsense. The Indians of that period were humans like us, which means that they trashed the land as much as we seem to be so fond of doing today. Is it merely coincidence that all large mammals and predators in North America became extinct at precisely the time that humans began wandering over North America? How very convenient they made it for humans that after thriving for hundreds of thousands of years in the verdant lands of North America these beasts should chose to go extinct just when humans appeared[ii]. Is it possible, however, that humans might have had just a tiny bit to do with the poor creatures’ demise? Is the Pope Catholic? The Noble Savage? A Golden age? “Native Americans were living in balance with Nature – but they had their hands on the scale[iii].”[i] I refuse to use the politically correct phrase Native Americans. It is awkward and self-conscious. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, it is inaccurate. Aboriginal peoples, Mohawks, Sioux, Iroquois, Klamath, and Shinnecock, Montaukett or any of a multitude of tribal names would be more appropriate. These people first started arriving on the continent thousands of years before anyone in Europe even knew that there was a place that could be named America. Actually, my referring to Indians as Indians actually only compounds an error made in the 15th century, when an Italian itinerant captain and navigator was hired by a couple of Spanish monarchs to find a quick way for their boats to get to India so they could take abuse and take advantage of those Indians. Columbus left Spain and sailed west certain in his belief that that was the best way to get there. When he accidently bumped into North America (By this time the land had been named America in a bit of self-promotion by cartographer Amerigo Vespucci.), he was certain that he had reached India and that all the people that he found there had to be Indians, right? It all is getting very complicated here, so maybe we should just call the people in North America by their tribal names. Even better, let’s just call the lot of them Phil.