Anuta is a very (very!) remote island in the South Pacific. Its people have developed one of the most sustainable, collaborative, and caring cultures on the planet. Its philosophy is called Aropa and
..is a concept for giving and sharing, roughly translated as compassion, love and affection. Aropa informs the way Anutans treat one another and it is demonstrated through the giving and sharing of material goods such as food. For example, the land on Anuta is shared among the family units so that each family can cultivate enough food to feed themselves and those around them.’
In the BBC documentary South Pacific, you see fishermen going out and bringing back fish, which is shared with all. Sharing and collaboration is their culture, and is the basis for their survival. It gives the impression that because of its population density (even higher than Bangladesh), its remoteness, and scarce resources (little land), this has been the most sustainable way to live. The island’s population is about 300 people, and divided into two ‘noporanga’, or “dwelling places”, each with a traditional chief. This is exactly Dunbar’s number, the estimate number of people of people with whom one can maintain a stable relationship. An interesting model for sustainability?
A whole other story is the story about Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.
Some years ago, I read of a species of tiny woodland wasp that lives on mushrooms. It seems that when a Wandering female wasp chances upon the right kind of mushroom in the forest, she deposits her eggs within it. Almost inmediately, the eggs hatch and the tiny grubs begin literally to eat themselves out of house and home. The little maggots grow rapidly, but soon something very odd happens. The eggs in the larvaes’ own ovaries hatch while still inside their immature mothers. This second generation of parthenogenic grubs quickly consumes its parents from within, then breaks out of the empty shells to continue feeding on the mushroom. This seemingly gruesome process may repeat itself for another generation. It doesn’t take long before the entire mushroom is overfilled by squirming maggots and fouled by their bodily wastes. The exploding population of juvenile wasps consumes virtually its entire habitat which is the signal for the largest and most mature of the larvae to pupate. The few individuals that rhanage to emerge as mature adults then abandon their mouldering birthplace, flying off to begin the whole process over again.
From: OUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: REDUCING HUMAN IMPACT ON THE EARTH. Mathis Wackernagel and William E. Rees.