THE EARTH IS OUR HOME
“All things are connected.” Whatever happens to the Earth, happens to us (as Chief Suiattle said), whether it be climate change, extermination of predators, or the eradication of the last hunter-gatherer cultures .
The community of life will continue to suffer from our disconnection from the natural world unless we change our views. Studying biological and cultural evolution can show us ways to surmount these threats and attain more gratifying lives.
This web site is devoted to an understanding of how we got ourselves into this pickle, and how we can find our way out of it by examining the lives of Earth-centered peoples. Although we cannot return to the woods, we can learn lessons from hunter-gatherers, that will contribute to the survival of the Earth.
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Sleeping with Wolves Paperback use pre formatted date that complies with legal requirement from media matrix – June 27, 2016
4.7 out of 5 stars
3 customer reviews
<div> Book Description
People are natural storytellers. Basically this is how our ancestors and contemporary indigenous folk teach and learn. I continue their traditions in these stories because I have seen the power of such tales to change hearts and minds. In these stories, myths, and essays I blend traditional lore with scientific facts while sometimes enclosing hidden nuggets of wisdom. Some of these tales are garnered from my own experience or from delving into scientific publications. Others I have gathered from quite disparate sources, such as Native American legends, myths, and East Indian oral history This series of interlocking stories reveals a collective theme. Although each story is self-contained, in their totality, they demonstrate a crucial connection between the natural world and the one that mankind is increasingly inventing, often without awareness as to the consequences for ourselves and the rest of the community of life. The first tale, “Sleeping with Wolves,” demonstrates through my up-close-and-personal encounter with these enigmatic canids, the two sides of our relationship with nature: one of common origin and natural affinities, and the other of atavistic fears that cause us to attempt to control or destroy nature. “Doctor Pusztai’s Dilemma and the Mexican Maze” is a description of the powerful forces in our present culture that oppose a few courageous scientists who attempt to warn us of the possible dangers of genetically engineered food. “The Tracks at Chauvet Cave” is a scientific detective story but one in which our growing concern for the safety of an unknown child, who lived more than 20,000 years ago, reveals that we are basically still the same people who gathered and hunted during the Stone age. The story “The Incredible Shrinking Megafauna” shows what profound effects both our deliberate and unintentional actions have on the animals with which we share the Earth. “The Pleistocene Massacres” is yet another detective story. Did we kill off the large North American mammals when our ancestors migrated from Siberia, and why is the answer of vital importance to us 10,000 years after the fact? “People of the Earth” reveals the astonishing accuracy of the oral histories of indigenous peoples. In one tale a 7,000-year-old American Indian legend, demonstrates that Earth-based peoples literally have some important things to say to us, if we are only willing to listen. “The Fisherman and the Wolves” tells of my chance encounter with a seemingly jolly old man who suddenly becomes darkly angry. The tale shows how false and persistent stories, some of which had their origins in old European fairy tales, may lead to unreasoning hatred and a second extinction of the wolf so recently reintroduced into the Rocky Mountains. The concluding essay, “My Son, the Indian,” introduces the reader to a cast of charming, picaresque, and sometimes outrageous characters, who are leading a growing movement, dedicated to reconnecting children to the natural world.</div> <em></em>
Book Description People are natural storytellers. Basically this is how our ancestors and contemporary indigenous folk teach and learn. I continue their traditions in these stories because I have seen the power of such tales to change hearts and minds. In these stories, myths, and essays I blend traditional lore with scientific facts while sometimes enclosing hidden nuggets of wisdom. Some of these tales are garnered from my own experience or from delving into scientific publications. Others I have gathered from quite disparate sources, such as Native American legends, myths, and East Indian oral history This series of interlocking stories reveals a collective theme. Although each story is self-contained, in their totality, they demonstrate a crucial connection between the natural world and the one that mankind is increasingly inventing, often without awareness as to the consequences for ourselves and the rest of the community of life. The first tale, “Sleeping with Wolves,” demonstrates through my up-close-and-personal encounter with these enigmatic canids, the two sides of our relationship with nature: one of common origin and natural affinities, and the other of atavistic fears that cause us to attempt to control or destroy nature. “Doctor Pusztai’s Dilemma and the Mexican Maze” is a description of the powerful forces in our present culture that oppose a few courageous scientists who attempt to warn us of the possible dangers of genetically engineered food. “The Tracks at Chauvet Cave” is a scientific detective story but one in which our growing concern for the safety of an unknown child, who lived more than 20,000 years ago, reveals that we are basically still the same people who gathered and hunted during the Stone age. The story “The Incredible Shrinking Megafauna” shows what profound effects both our deliberate and unintentional actions have on the animals with which we share the Earth. “The Pleistocene Massacres” is yet another detective story. Did we kill off the large North American mammals when our ancestors migrated from Siberia, and why is the answer of vital importance to us 10,000 years after the fact? “People of the Earth” reveals the astonishing accuracy of the oral histories of indigenous peoples. In one tale a 7,000-year-old American Indian legend, demonstrates that Earth-based peoples literally have some important things to say to us, if we are only willing to listen. “The Fisherman and the Wolves” tells of my chance encounter with a seemingly jolly old man who suddenly becomes darkly angry. The tale shows how false and persistent stories, some of which had their origins in old European fairy tales, may lead to unreasoning hatred and a second extinction of the wolf so recently reintroduced into the Rocky Mountains. The concluding essay, “My Son, the Indian,” introduces the reader to a cast of charming, picaresque, and sometimes outrageous characters, who are leading a growing movement, dedicated to reconnecting children to the natural world.
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About the Author
Ken Fischman was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he had the privilege of watching the almost mythological Jackie Robinson-led Brooklyn Dodgers. He also wandered the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens as a child where he saw rabbits being pursued in the brambles by fiery red foxes. These almost magical experiences helped shape the person he grew up to be, hopefully for the better. He has a Ph.D. in Genetics. His last professional position was at Columbia University Medical School, where he taught and did research on the effects of environmental agents on DNA and chromosomes. He has been a white water canoeist and kayaker and founded the Columbia University Kayak Cub. He was the first Vice President of New York Rivers United, an organization devoted to preserving our rivers. Dr. Fischman has taught wilderness survival skills and awareness. He has a long-standing interest in the culture of hunter-gatherers and the roles of predators, especially wolves, in ecosystems. His passion for Nature has led him to write and teach about a wide variety of environmental issues. He authors the website, Ancient Pathways To A Sustainable Future. He and his wife, Lanie Johnson who is an artist, currently live in a cabin surrounded by wildlife and forest a few miles from Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (June 27, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
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Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Sandy on July 12, 2016
Ken and Lainie are passionate advocates for living with respect for and awareness of nature, and the spiritual value that has. This passion has led them to advocate for wolves in Idaho, a state, where many are equally passionate that wolves should be exterminated. It has led them to be deeply interested in the hunter gatherer cultures, who possessed the attitudes, skills and extraordinary awareness of their natural surroundings, that allowed them to thrive in the absence of tools and technology that modern humans require. They have pursued this interest, by studying what is known about contemporary hunter gatherers, and searching out clues from archeology, that can help us imagine what the lives of the ancients were like. It has led them to study and teach these ancient skills and attitudes, so that they and others can try to recreate the experience of complete dependence on nature for survival. I have the good fortune to know Ken and Lainie, and to hear their stories, first hand. For those who arent as fortunate, I recommend reading “Sleeping with Wolves”. Ken’s sense of humor and conversational writing style make the book seem almost like a visit.
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By sml on July 17, 2016
I greatly enjoyed this book. In this volume, Dr Fischman has written on a variety of subjects, and includes personal experiences. His scientific examinations of genetic engineering and the loss of North American megafauna I found easy to follow and particularly compelling.
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By Jack E. Wright on July 19, 2016
I first met Ken when I learned that there was a retired geneticist living in Sandpoint, Idaho, and I wanted him to speak at a Idaho Psychological Conference. That was long ago, and we’ve had many meetings together, and with his wife Laney, since that time. I knew his scientific way of thinking, buy didn’t know how flexible it is, and how broadly educated he is. “Sleeping with Wolves” uses information more than argument to lead the reader to new understandings.
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THE BEAR HUNTER
by Ken Fischman
Just north of Boise Randy Wayne’s red Maserati wound its way down from between the sear grass-covered hills that resemble monstrous brown dumplings. The road straightened out when it reached the city and he sped down the arrow-straight avenue leading past the state legislature. It was a dark early December Sunday morning so there was little traffic on the streets of the Idaho capital that could slow it down, and the driver, taking advantage of the situation, sped up, going through a just-turned-red traffic light and headed for the downtown section of the city. The driver began a conversation with himself.
‘Confound that woman I really will never understand why she always wants to hike into the forest.’
‘I enjoy experiencing nature first hand she whines.’
Several times she had actually tried to entice him to go with her! No way. He did not want all that effort and discomfort. He found it disgusting the way she had to bundle up with boots, gloves, down coat, and that silly red wool beret of hers.
‘Now she’s off again this morning. I bet that she’ll be late to dinner – with Governor Crapo for Christ’s sake!” Hmnn, whenever we arrive though, she’ll look great in that shoulderless gown she’s going to half wear.’ He smirked.
‘Jeeze, that’s why I married her. She looks so hot in those things, I get a boner just thinking of it. I saw his honor givin her the eye last time we were at the mansion.’
By the time Randy arrived at the main entrance of a green glass-enclosed high rise office building, wind-driven snow was beginning to swirl about its foundation walls and also around the cars parked at the adjacent curb. The winter’s first layer of sparkling crystals was also parking itself on the sidewalk.
The middle-aged overweight man, wearing a felt cowboy hat, striped scarf wound his neck, and lamb’s wool lined leather jacket stumbled his way out of the car. As his embossed high-heeled cowboy boots started to slip in the new snow, he grabbed the side mirror and regained his balance. He threw his keys to the doorman and scuttled manfully up the few steps to where the huge automatic revolving door opened wide for him. He quickly walked past the row of elevators on his left and headed for another, narrower elevator door on the back wall. It was labeled in red “PRIVATE.” It too opened for him, with a whoosh sound when the camera above it recognized his visage. Then it took him quickly up to the eighteenth floor.
The lavish, but peopleless, dimly lit office had only one light on, a huge brass contraption hanging over a monster Scandinavian teak wood desk which rested on the far end of a plush dark blue throw rug. Somewhere in the room a phone started to ring. It quickly cut off and he heard an English-accented woman’s voice.
“This is Emily. It is now 0900 hours on the ninth of December, year 2026. Your Super Remote Teletronic Animal Harvesting Device has made a bear-kill at 0700 hours on this day in sector B345 of the Payette National Forest. Please refer to your electronic map for the best route to this location and contact me for further directions.”
‘Huh. I was going to go over those papers on the ski resort this morning that they better have on my desk right now! I’ll make a mint on that bankruptcy, but it’ll wait one more day. This will be good.’
He knew his priorities.
‘This season I am going to get my head for damn sure! It cost me enough. I’ll show those snooty Safari Club types what a griz looks like when I mount that trophy over my fireplace at the family ranch.’
He smiled when he thought about how he had outfoxed those guys and gotten the first grizzly hunting permit in Idaho since the Idaho and Wyoming senators had gotten the bears knocked off the Endangered Species list, by slipping a rider onto a must-pass congressional spending bill.
‘There’s only 200 of them and that’ll make it even sweeter for me. That ticket cost me thirty thousand in the Idaho Predator Hunting Lottery, but it’ll be worth it to see their green-with-envy faces.”
He canceled his appointments for the rest of day and headed back up to his home at the very top of the “dumplings,” the one with the huge American flag waving from the pole next to it. In the cavernous garage he exchanged the vintage sports car for a $155,000 Hummer Special, which was carrying a John Deer Spectral remote-control all-terrain vehicle in its bed. He hastily loaded it with a see-through sealed package containing, among other things, a canvas bag, orange plastic rope, a Bowie autographed hunter’s knife with embossed ivory handle, and a small Husqvarna Diamond chain saw. As he drove the vehicle out, the garage door hissed open automatically and after a few turns, he headed north on Rt. 55, under increasingly lowering, darkling clouds.
During the two hour and a half hour ride he reminisced about the vicissitudes of the old days of bear hunting, when he had to use bait and dogs, and the failed campaign by those ‘lunatic animal lovers’ to infringe on the constitutional rights of hunters to kill wolves and bears in the most efficient manner possible.
‘Its too bad about the wolves though’ he thought. ‘They went too far with those open seasons and helicopter hunts and they probably wiped them out.” Despite Idaho Fish & Game’s insistence that there were a few of them still up on the Lolo, he knew there had been no hunter reports of wolf sightings in the past two years.
‘I never did get a chance to nail one, but a griz will make a better trophy any day” he grinned. ’Its bigger’!
He chuckled ‘You can’t stop progress.’ He mused further on how cave men used to hunt huge cave bears with only stone spears and pit traps, and how physically exhausting and dangerous it must have been for them.
‘None of that for me. These new high tech methods are a big improvement over ‘90s hunting. Now the odds are more on our side, and there is no need to get up at 5:30 AM, bundle up, trudge into the mountains, and get cold, wet, dirty, like Becky is going to be today, and then likely not even get a bear.” He chuckles.
He thought with building excitement about how he would use the new high tech hunting devices he had just purchased, such as a remote sensing device, laser-aimed, computer-controlled semi-automatic weapons (The Feds had pushed through a ban on machine guns and rocket launchers after that Seattle stadium massacre during the COPA soccer matches, ‘Damn them.’). And a satellite tracking game locator that can be set for any kind of animal. Then he remembered with chagrin that the previous John Deer he had, sometimes misidentified the game animal. One time he took off a whole day to go up the Middle Fork of the Boise River, expecting to harvest an elk, and instead found a cow!
he laughed out loud. But then he remembered that he didn’t find it funny at the time.
‘When I gave that dealer a piece of my mind, the guy gave me a real good deal on the new equipment along with a long-term warrantee. That obsequious shit head assured me that the glitch in the harvesting software had been corrected in the new model.’
“It had better be. I paid a mint for it!”
Just then he arrived at the trail head, and still in his cowboy get-up he unloaded the Plexiglas covered, climate-controlled ATV, placed the package in it. Then, he climbed in. He turned on the computer, touched a keypad, and away he went, automatically being driven to his “kill”.
Emily’s silky voice cut in again.
“Now that you have put your ATV in “kill” mode and have become all comfy Sir, I need to remind you that there are a few things that you should be aware of. We cannot control the weather, and have found …te da te da te da ” she droned on amidst a burst of static. Finding the noise annoying, he switched Emily off.
‘Convenient. I wish I could switch Becky off like that’
he chuckled to himself.
With the ATV unloaded at a trail head, its computer ascertained the shortest way to the kill and maneuvered expertly through the heavily wooded area, despite the increasing snow, using its universally jointed, air-oil, independently suspended wheels to get over or around all obstacles, including fallen trees and mud holes. Billy Joe sat back, mixed himself a drink, and turned on the TV. Not finding anything interesting on the Terrorism or Game channels, he switched it off and his mind turned to how he and his wife had argued about this new hunting device.
‘We seem to argue about a lot of things lately,’ he grimaced.
“Excuse me honey lamb but it doesn’t sound too sportsmanlike. Is it honey?” He whined in imitation of her.
‘Hey, I told her what for.” “it’s the bottom line that counts” I said. “Them what has, gets. Nature don’t have no mercy and neither do I.”
He smugly recalled that she had no retort, but that he rubbed it in anyway. “Look at what my ways have gotten you. Hey, how d’ya like that new Givenchy gown I gotcha in Paris?”
That sure shut her up.
The ATV arrived at a shallow but steep ravine and abruptly stopped. It could neither negotiate it nor find a good route around the chasm due to the heavy alder thickets surrounding it and steep hillsides above it. Randy impatiently turned Emily on again and she informed him of this situation.
“I already know that” he snarled.
She went on sweetly to say that the kill was located only thirty feet away.
‘Damn’, he thought, ‘I should have spent the extra money and gotten that model with tree-cutter capacity.’
He cursed again, because it had become more obviously windy and colder. He got out, unzipped the packet, pulled out and put on Mylar coveralls. He started to carry the canvas bag and chainsaw down into the ravine. His boots slipped on the snow-covered scree and he tumbled to the bottom, twisting his knee and striking his head sharply on a protruding rock, which knocked off his Stetson.
He regained consciousness minutes, or perhaps hours later, finding himself at the bottom of the ravine and in a full-scale blizzard. His head hurt something awful and he could not see more than a few feet ahead. As soon as he tried to get up he realized that his knee was hurt badly enough so that he could not walk, and he began to feel panicky. He tried to calm himself but soon began to shiver and drop into hypothermia.
He thought ‘I’ve got to get back to the ATV. Order it to drive me to the trailhead. I can radio for assistance. Satellite tracker will guide the Medevac copter to me.’
As he dragged himself laboriously up over the lip of the ravine, he lifted his head and saw a beautiful red fox standing in the snow, looking at him. He felt a strange kinship with it, but the fox just flicked its tail and calmly trotted into the storm.
“Wait, don’t go,” the bear hunter mumbled.
He looked ahead and dimly perceived an elongated snow-covered form lying on the ground ahead of him.
‘Damn’ he thought. ‘It’s the bear. I climbed up the wrong side of the ravine!’ ” Shit!” He reached out to the form and grasped something that came away in his hand. He looked at it. It was a red beret.
He lapsed into unconsciousness again.
The storm grew in intensity. It would be very cold that coming night on the mountain, just as it has been during the winter for millennia.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CRISIS WE FACE
THE LITTLE MEN IN WHITE COATS ARE HERE AGAIN
By Ken Fischman, Ph.D.
Some of you are old enough to remember those 1950s science fiction movies. You know, the ones that begin with astronomers finding a giant asteroid, heading for Earth, sure to blow us to smithereens.
A crisis meeting is called of all the earth’s leaders, at which anxious little men in white coats lay out the Doomsday scenario. They warn us that if we do not come together and take emergency steps, our planet will surely be destroyed.
Of course, after a lot of bickering, our leaders do come to their senses. We all cooperate in a sort of Manhattan Project. Mankind’s ingenuity finds a way to destroy the intruding asteroid, and our annihilation is avoided. Whew! Close call!
Well, I kind of felt like those theater audiences when I first read the 100 page Summary of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – that’s a mouthful) 2007 4th Assessment on Climate Change.
I read and reread it. I went back to the voluminous original Report and read that. You may well wonder why I went to so much trouble. Well, you see, I was sure that I had misread or misinterpreted the Report. Perhaps I had misplaced some decimal points or made mistakes in transposing from degrees Centigrade (which all scientists use) to Fahrenheit (which almost all Americans use) and/or from Meters to Feet (ditto).
Alas, I could not find any big errors. In thirty years as a scientific researcher I had never read a document as sobering as this one. The little men in white coats were standing there again, telling us that we are doomed unless we take immediate, concerted action.
However, this is not a movie, not even a Grade B one. This is real life, and not enough people are listening. In fact, many people, mostly Americans, are desperately trying to ignore this danger. An entire multibillion-dollar industry of Climate Denial has sprouted, fueled by deep-pocketed energy corporations, who have much to lose if we slow CO2 emissions, and supported by people who do not want to face having to change their life styles.
In the ensuing four years since this report came out, the news has only gotten worse and the deniers more stubborn in their desperate need to ignore reality.
Next year another IPCC Report is due. I can tell you now, based on many publications I have read in the interim, that the news will be worse, showing that many of the predicted changes have already begun, and are proceeding at a rate faster than anticipated by our scientists.
Our leading climate scientist, James Hansen has written an eye opening book, summarized elsewhere on this web site, explaining the physics, biology, and politics of Climate Change.
CO2 emissions are continuing to climb, ice sheets are breaking off, methane is escaping from melting permafrost, heat wave records are being broken all over the earth, our forests and plains are burning, and droughts are getting worse and more widespread. Did I leave anything out? Sure I did, out of a concern not to overwhelm you – too much.
Are there any adults out there, who learned from their parents and elders that the only way to overcome adversity is to face it and surmount it? If you are among these few grownups, I urge you to read my ten-page summary of the last IPCC Assessment, and then if the spirit moves you and if you care about what happens to your children and grandchildren, take action. What will happen will not be pretty unless we get our act together fast. The sands of time are running out. A good place to start would be the 350.org website.