Nautilus

Love Your Dog? You Should Thank Garbage

scion via Shutterstock

Just south of the equator, thirty miles off the coast of Tanzania, sits a small island called Pemba. The small patch of dry land jutting out from the Indian Ocean is just 30 miles long and 10 miles wide. The quarter million or so people who inhabit Pemba live more or less on the bleeding edge between a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle and a more modern agricultural one. Most of the sustenance, for example, comes from hunting and gathering, from fishing in dugout canoes, and from scraping shellfish off the reef that surrounds the island. In the industrialized West, by comparison, we still do a bit of fishing and hunting, but the vast majority of our food comes from farm-raised crops and from domesticated livestock. The Pembans live in huts made of wood, grass, or mud, or occasionally of concrete, and almost all now have roofs made of metal. With one foot in the past and one toe dipping into

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