The variety of available resources a people or individual has access to is a determining factor on that creatures development and the amount of influence it can exert into its surrounding environment. The archeological history of human expansion and appropriation of resources as outlined by Diamond and others we have been reading presents a clear logically compelling progression of causes and effects eventually accounting for humanity’s current domination of the biosphere. The use of tools, development of complex social dynamics, and the innovation of agriculture are all examples of humanity’s progression towards this domineering position. Agriculture in particular seems to begin the trend of “conscious” manipulation of our environments to better serve our own interests. I am interested in exploring the implications of our ability to act consciously, and whether that ability endows us with different responsibilities towards the environment and other terrestrial inhabitants over whom we currently exercise such destructive influence. Something that keeps echoing through my mind while reading Guns Germs and Steal is how to define nature, and nature’s relationship to ethics, or rather how something’s nature determines to what extent it is ethically accountable. This is a question I struggle with in my own relationship to the environment, and it influences my perspective of human actions in general with regards to our current management of global resources. If an animal lashes out and injures or kills another animal it is not held ethically accountable. It is, of course, assumed to be acting according to its nature. It seems obvious that the offending creature should not be punished for acting in the way it has been evolutionarily wired, so my interest is in what places the human animal’s actions outside of this natural standard, or more fundamentally if this can even be done. Up until the initiation of agriculture, our habits seem to have been naturally regulated by the limits of the wild resource base from which we gathered. The size of any groups population was in direct proportion to their available resources, this is shown clearly in Diamonds examination of the interaction between the Maori and the Moriori. The environmental limits to the Moriori’s seals, birds, and wild edible plants we such that “they reduced potential conflicts from overpopulation by castrating some male infants” (Diamond 1999, p. 56). Manipulation of the production capacity of the land through cultivation and crop selection clearly allows human populations to outstrip the natural limitations of wild foodstuffs. Wild nature ceases to be the determinate of human growth and organization, and as we become more adept in our manipulations, we are progressively taking on the responsibility of setting this boundary for ourselves. This is obviously not a universally true statement, we are still ultimately at the mercy of the natural cycles of the planet, and we are no less dependent on natural systems to produce vital resources, however I maintain that the extent and sophistication of our present resource management has enabled us to determine our own limits to a greater extent. I see many problems with this development obvious examples would be the huge amount of pollution generated by first world living standards and expectations, and the population pressures arising in the developing world. These cases seem to indicate that we are not equipped to rule over the rest of the biosphere.