A Brief editorial on the meaning of 'Bushcraft'. This is very much a work in progress.
|Bushcraft in the Modern Age
Bushcraft, you may feel, has no place in our modern society. After all, what can we learn from long-gone hunter gatherers, that can possibly have any bearing on our busy, modern, consumerism lives today?
To answer this question, we probably need to take a step back and look at what 'Bushcraft' really means. Today, this word has come to mean the method of survival for indigenous peoples around the world, and how they are able to feed themselves and live in some of the most inhospitable places on earth.
This is an over simplistic view in my opinion, and is only scratching the surface of what Bushcraft means. Bushcraft was (and still is in some areas of the world today) a way of life, a philosophy if you like, one that encompasses everything, that our ancestors knew about living, and their beliefs. To segregate it up into small topics such as hunting, farming, wood craft and the like doesn't really do this view justice.
At it's simplest then, bushcraft can be described as:
The effective use of the resources available to meet the needs of the individual or group.
The key words in this sentence are 'effective', 'resources' and 'needs'. To use resources effectively, they need to be maintained, not depleted, to ensure that they are always available for future needs, to use and not squander what you have. We have a similar idea today, of course 'Reduce, Re-cycle, Re-use', applying this to everything, and not just our weekly waste will bring us closer to the philosophy of our ancestors. Resources are fairly obvious, back in time, I am sure that they encompassed the natural world, animals plants, water and so forth, but we have so many more resources today, and they all need to be thought about. The obvious ones are food, fuel and water, and there are many ways we can all use these more effectively, but money, people you know, shops you frequent, web sites you click onto etc.. etc.. are all resources to us today, resources that our fore bears wouldn't always have access to. The 'needs' of people tend to be more esoteric and differ from person to person, there are the obvious; shelter, water, food, the air we breath etc.. but these are just the physical, there are also things such as friendship, beauty, things that make you happier or make objects brighter in your world, and they all need to be taken into account in equal measures for a well balanced life.
So our resources today are different, the hunting spear may have been replaced by the credit card, and watering holes by hot and cold running water, but, the philosophy is still the same.... TBC