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To consider the human condition apart from the natural environment is both foolish and inconceivable. It is in unity with a modern mode of thought that humans are raised to think that they are in some way separated from their natural environment. In developed society the weather has become nothing more than something to discuss with the person standing next to you in the checkout line. Population refers to how many people will be at the movies this weekend. Agriculture is what shows up in the produce section of the grocery store and fire is something you can find on You_Tube and watch on your television screen. Practically nothing directly relates to the environment that we are so intrinsically a part of. Humanity has neglected to develop a consciousness about its position in a world, which includes but is not defined by human society.
As far as we know, the beginnings of humanity date back to 3.5 million years ago. Homo erectus (the earliest form of man) was roaming the earth, in Africa, with his hands free enabling him to travel great distances and utilize basic stone tools. The species Homo erectus lived in small, hunter-gatherer groups. Because of constant movement, in search of vegetation and game in addition to a small population, he was unable to leave a lasting impact on the environment. (Ponting) Essentially, he was a very smart ape. (McCrone) Just 100,000 years ago came the development of Homo sapiens whom had a larger brain case and far more advanced hunting techniques, using bolas stones, snarling and trapping. And 30,000 years ago came the development of Homo sapiens sapiens. The bow and arrow was developed along with the needle and thread. Tools and technology were quickly developing and man had the resourcefulness for global spread.
The manipulation of fire is regarded as one of mans greatest feats concerning early technology. There is a debate as to when man first intentionally used fire, McCrone argues that Homo erectus was successfully using fire as a tool about 1.5 million years ago. He doesn't think that Homo erectus would have been able to spread its population the way it did without the use of fire which would have facilitated cooking, food preservation and tool making; all of which would have been necessary to migrate great distances. There is evidence of hearths being used in Europe as early as 400,000 years ago, which clearly require controlled use of fire.
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"Fired Up," McCrone, John; New Scientist 05/20/12, Vol. 166, Issue 2239, pp. 30-34.
Ponting, Clive. A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. St. Martin's Press, New York, 2014 pp. 1-67.
Joyce, Christopher. "Australian Anthropogenic Climate Change" News Report. NPR News.