Tag Archives: survival

Cheating Extinction

I read Matt’s post about the danger of trash to animals and I am definitely looking forward to the discussion we will have in his class on Tuesday. But before that, I will present some initial thoughts regarding Matt’s main topic of discussion, “If we believe in evolution, survival of the fittest, and that extinction is a natural part of life, then why do we feel the need to ‘save’ endangered species.” Firstly, I think there is a dichotomy between those who think that extinction is natural and those who feel the need to save endangered species. Therefore, “we” should be better specified. So from now on, I shall use “we” for those who want to save endangered animals.

Some might consider the people who want to save endangered animals as “good” and people who will not step into action due to the belief in the naturalness of extinction as “bad”. But I shall state otherwise. Those who want to save the animals are the ones who want to transcend nature. Similar to the popular idea of cheating death, these people hope of cheating nature’s principles of evolution and extinction. I found a TV show on Animal Planet called Orangutan Island, in which people are trying to save the endangered Orangutans by protecting them and giving them homes. The title of Season 2’s Episode 1 is “Cheating Extinction,” which pertains quite well to our discussion. The regular viewer would think that the Orangutans are cheating extinction, but actually we are the ones cheating extinction. Not our extinction, but the Orangutan’s extinction. So now, we play a key role in the fate of other animals. Quite a weighty responsibility, isn’t it? Of course. Attempting to invalidate nature’s inherent laws by replacing it with human power is no small deal.


Surviving and Thriving

I thought Vani’s post and the article on characteristics for survival was very interesting. I completely agree with the article on the physical and mental survival essentials. Fire is the ultimate tool to survive in the wild because its offers range from warmth to preventing disease (by cooking raw food). Being mindful of your surrounds is key to surviving, as in not dying. Living in the wild leaves a person very vulnerable, because many things can threaten his/her survival, and the first step to protecting oneself is to be aware of the threats.

Looking back at what we discussed in class, I’ve realized that we were actually talking about the ideal characteristics to thrive, not to survive. First of all, having knowledge or fame or power will definitely not guarantee survival if a person (or any kind of creature) was alone in the wild. However, once they learn to be mindful, and actually know how to live well, having the qualities we discussed in class will help in thriving. Because only after we learn to survive can we thrive, I think we had just assumed that the ideal creature was already capable of survival when we listed the characteristics.

The article acts as a guide of how to survive when lost or stuck in the wild. That’s why it focuses more on how to adapt to the change. Being mindful is like asking us to use an old instinct that’s been in storage for our whole lives, so we have to tell ourselves to be mindful in order to do so. Once we adapt to the situation, or the living style, we don’t need to actively think “mindful”. That is when we start to focus on what we can do to achieve a life even better, which requires the characteristics we discussed. So on different levels, the qualities for surviving and thriving work together, and both can be ideal.

Survival: Take One

Working defiation of survival: to hit the curveballs that life throws at you, ideally knocking them out of the park

Outside magazine is the place to go if you want to learn how to survive. Of course, in this modern day of age you don’t pick up the actual magazine, you go to the website: a unrestricted mass of information.

While perusing the home page of the survival section, a couple of interesting things caught my eye right away. The first thing I saw was “Ask the survival guru.” I liked this for two reasons; that there was in fact a survival guru; and that you could ask him whatever survival question you may have.

What do you do when your stuck in nature with nothing but an iPhone? Ask the Survival Guru.

Second was a section called “survival skills 101.” These are the basics of surviving, an introduction if I may and I was quite interested in some of the things I saw. I was not surprised to see building and starting a fire, nor was I surprised by a section on packing essentials. But one thing caught my eye: Paiute Deadfall Traps. It could be the foreign word, or possibly the word ‘dead,’ but I was nonetheless intrigued. The link lead to me a video of Tony Nester of Ancient Pathways (The Survival Guru himself). Not only did I learn how to make a deadfall trap with which you can kill small prey to eat; I was introduced to a very interesting argument about survival. In the words of Nester

“If you want to live off the land, look at the archaelogical record of your area. Why reinvent the wheel? Ancients peoples are the blueprint of survival for that region.”

I found this to strike a harmonious chord throughout my brain. Survival is a human instinct, as a species we’ve been doing it since the day our cells evolved into something living; and as individuals since the day we were born. It’s funny to think how reliant we are on modern things to survive, when it was done for thousands of years with out any of that. I think we can do it if we try.