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Moving from a parasitic model of problem solving to a symbiotic model where our utilization of an organism would help it thrive.

Generally, our model of solving a problem has been to find something with the properties we need, kill it, and extract what we need. For example a fence post. We find a tree cut it up and use it to make posts. The organism that we are deriving benefit from dies in the process more trees must be found if we intend to make more fence posts. In Vanuatu, however, villages have found that fence posts made from tree cuttings that grow are more stable since they grow their own root system. Additionally, they sprout new branches that can be planted as posts themselves. The result is that the more fences they build the more material there is for fence building available.
If we formed more symbiotic relationships like this one, where our using of a resource actually created more of it, it seems we could solve a lot of problems.
Obviously we have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in and on our bodies and with plants producing oxygen and consuming our carbon dioxide, but there must be other examples of us functioning symbiotically.

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    May 7 2014: this sounds great, do you know of more examples? Some farm animals might have a better life with us than they would in the wild, for example they get veterinary care, they are protected from predators.
  • May 7 2014: And what is the overall prosperity of Vanuatu?
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      May 7 2014: how does this question relate, Bryan, let's say overall it's a poor community, couldn't this idea about planting tree cuttings for fence posts still be a good one?
      • May 7 2014: It relates because everything is part of a bigger picture. How do they have the time to do it this way? How do they have the labor to do it this way. I've cultivated trees. It does not work like plugging a fence post into the ground. Trees die when you do everything right. Trees get bigger than you want them to get. Trees grow in directions you don't want them to grow. Trees as fence posts give animals and people ways to climb you fence with far greater ease than you may have wanted. Trees are a lot more ongoing work than fence posts. If Vanuatu is one of those places where people have lots of time to take care of these trees as fence posts because there's no work or wealth to be sought, it means that the solution for Vanuatu won't be much good in a very different economy.

        In some parts of the USA, trees would be an ecological disaster to use as fence posts, since they would require inordinate amounts of water.
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          May 7 2014: excellent thinking. A counter-argument that occurs is that the more people who made their fences out of living trees, the more the kinks would be worked out, the faster and better people would get at doing it?
    • May 7 2014: certainly, few would suggest that we attempt to organize all of society off the model of a small island nation of 500 thousand people. What I am suggesting is that we look at our thought process.

      What if rather than using resources up we use things in a way that there is actually more of a resource because the way we use it actually beneficial to the thing we are using. There are lots of examples of this in the animal kingdom.

      Some ants make their homes trees and protect the tree from boring beetles. The result is a grove of the trees in that area. The more trees they use the more of them there are to live in.

      surely that is better than our model where we kill all the trees we want to make our homes out of and then have to find more trees to cut down. It's pretty clear that in our model we run out of trees.