M. Kat Anderson

Quotes from her book 'Tending the Wild', html :

Several important insights were revealed to me as I walked with Native American elders and accompanied them on plant gathering walks. The first of these was that one gains respect for nature by *using* it judiciously. By using a plant or an animal, interacting with it where it lives, and tying your well-being to its existence, you can be intimate with it and understand it. The elders challenged the notion I had grown up with -- that one should respect nature by leaving it along -- by showing me that we learn respect through the demands put on us by the great responsibility of using a plant or an animal." p. xvi


When Anderson asked native elders why some plants and animals were disappearing, they blamed "the absence of human interaction with a plant or an animal," which suggests that "not only do plants benefit from human use, but some may actually *depend* on humans using them.

The conservation of endangered species and the restoration of historic ecosystems might require the reintroduction of careful human stewardship rather than simple hands-off preservation. In other words, reestasblishing the ecological associations between people and nature might be appropriate in certain areas. p. xvii

Anderson documents in her book how human beings interaction with nature has the potential to be user, protector, steward and even "enlivener" at the same time.

California Indians had established a middle ground between the extremes over overexploiting nature and leaving it alone, seeing themselves as having the complementary roles of user, protector and steward of the natural world. I had been reading about how various animals' interactions with plant populations actually benefited those plants -- how grizzly bears scattered the bulblets of Erythronium lilies (wiki ) in the process of rooting up and eating the mature bulbs, how California scrub jays helped oaks reproduce by losing track of some of the acorns they buried -- and it seemed plausible that the many generations of humans in California's past had played a similar role. p. xvi