On Saturday evening we went to see Ray Mears. He is touring the UK at the moment with his show called "In front of and behind the lens". He talked about the places he has visited and the television programmes he has made during the last 15 years. It was fascinating. He talked for over two and a half hours and the time passed so quickly.
He has made programmes throughout the world and gathered a lot of knowledge about the hunter gatherer way of life and the skills used. In almost every community he visited, the traditional way of life was dying out and it was only by talking to the older people that he was able to build up a picture of the way they had lived for generations and generations.
What struck me most as he talked about all the different tribes and groups he had met was how in each case they were all very "in tune" with their surroundings. Whether it was tracking animals in Africa or knowing where to find fish in a frozen lake they all seemed to know their surroundings in a way that most of us will never be able to do. There was also a great respect for their environment, for the animals that they hunted and plants that they gathered. These seem to be societies where there is very little waste, when an animal is killed for food every part is used, just enough of a plant is harvested for building, for medicines or for making fire. Traditionally the communities were almost totally self sufficient, as they often lived in remote areas all their needs had to be supplied from the local area.
While we in "developed" countries are trying to eat local foods, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and consume less of the world's resources perhaps we can gain inspiration from these traditional hunter gatherer communities.