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Maximizing Carrying Capacity 

Editor:

The reason the Earth can not sustain the growing population is because we severely reduced the carrying capacity of the ecosystems that sustain us by depleting resources faster than they're replenished (Mailbox, Oct. 12).

Our population did not deplete the native foods and plants by eating them all, we destroyed them and the habitats that supported them. We replaced them with less nutritious, less diverse plants that use much more resources to produce, which reduced the carrying capacity of the most abundant state in North America.

Contrary to what many believe, plant-based foods contributed substantially to Native Californians' diet and health. Many nuts, seeds and grains, underground tubers and bulbs, fruits and berries, and greens. These native foods are super foods high in nutrients, fat, protein and calories — some contain more digestible protein than meat. Restoring native plants and native foods will maximize the carrying capacity of our environment.

These native foods sustained the largest population of indigenous people in North America and massive amounts of wildlife. How much carrying capacity exists in millions of acres of lawns, asphalt, pavement, urban landscapes, tree farm forests and mono-crop agriculture? Today, most human touched landscapes barely support native birds, which is why the world is going through the largest extinction event in history. The health of the environment reflects the health of the people. Historically, Native Californians were documented as being the healthiest people Europeans ever encountered. Today, the American population is the unhealthiest on the planet even though we are the richest county.

Our culture has been going backwards for thousands of years. We can turn around and go forward before we hit the dead end. By acting in a beneficial way, we can fix these problems very quickly and become the beneficial species I believe humans were designed to be.

Monty Caid, Eureka

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