I just discovered a good account Gobekli Tepe on Stephen Schwarz’s often fascinating site. Not only does it give a good account of the place and its discovery along with great pictures, it also discusses in greater detail than I had seen before the possible long-term ecological and cultural consequences of this amazing set of constructions. It sparked some thought of mine regarding a successful case of long term harvesting by native peoples in our own Pacific Northwest.
Some years back I was researching the fate of salmon in America’s Pacific Northwest. I was struck with the tales told by those tribes of the importance of treating salmon respectfully, and the bad consequences of not doing so. In these tales Indians who acted disrespectfully brought disaster upon themselves and their people. It suggested to me that at some point in the distant past the tribes had not done so, had taken too many, with disastrous consequences.
Certainly the salmon fishing tribes of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California possessed sufficient technology to wipe out the fish, but they had not done so. Instead they had immersed their economic interests within a larger ethical and spiritual context that included salmon and other life forms.
Europeans wiped out the bulk of these runs within a few decades by not doing so, and chasing the Almighty Buck instead.
One thing we Pagans can offer other religions as well as modern secularists is a ethical framework for dealing with the other-than-human world, a framework that might be necessary if we are to enjoy a prosperous life in the Eden the ancestors to this country took from its earlier inhabitants.