I created this blog to enhance public awareness of my favorite subject: ethnobiology. I was and still am being trained as a scientist to study ecology, but I find most of my inspiration and knowledge coming directly from nature or being handed down through millennia of trial and error and human experimentation. Our ancestors and the earlier inhabitants of earth knew much, much more about these subjects than people do today.
Now, most people live in totally artificial environments, with all their needs and wants piped into their boxes (cages?). We have forgotten most of the memories of our species, which were once the key to our success. For an ephemeral time we’ve been released from our need to understand and live with nature since we get most our energy nowadays from fossil fuels.
One day we will have to go back to ways of living directly with nature or we will go extinct. We all have the instincts to be curious about the natural world around us, to try and understand it, but most people have stifled these instincts. I was lucky; the time and place I was raised plus my family, friends, and teachers nurtured these instincts.
I’ve lived most my life just outside or in Austin TX. I’ve traveled throughout Central America, the Peruvian Amazon, the US Southwest, and California. I moved to California in 2011 for grad school at UC Berkeley’s dept of Integrative Biology. I live with my fiance Emily Moskal, a biologist, journalist, photographer, and rockhound (her blog: http://petroform.wordpress.com/), our cats Sage and Toyon, dogs Kitsune and Neptune, a variety of plants, and a host of ectoparasites and microbes.
California is blessed with an incredible natural environment of astounding diversity and heterogeneity of ecosystems. Except perhaps Alaska, no other state can boast such a thorough and extensive recorded knowledge of the lives of the indigenous native inhabitants. Alaska is too cold, so California is clearly the place for me and my work!
It makes me sad when people can’t identify the commonest of trees or a single edible wild-growing plant. But it makes me very happy to teach people who care about these things! I hope to convince the world that the only future of humanity is returning to our place as stewards and caretakers of the forests, grasslands, tundra, deserts, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Because (in the words of Eric Pianka), “There is no planet B.”
– Cyrus Harp
All text and images from blog © Cyrus Harp and Ringtail Cats.