What we must think about is an agriculture with a human face. We must give standing to the new pioneers, the homecomers bent on the most important work for the next century - a massive salvage operation to save the vulnerable but necessary pieces of nature and culture and to keep the good and artful examples before us. It is time for a new breed of artists to enter front and center, for the point of art, after all, is to connect. This is the homecomer I have in mind: the scientist, the accountant who converses with nature, a true artist devoted to the building of agriculture and culture to match the scenery presented to those first European eyes.
In Scandanavia, 'Iverson finds that the whole spectrum of pollen deposits is altered when (in early Neolithic times) ... the first farmers appear. Cereal pollens increase. Plants of oak woodland lessen and disappear; birch pollen increases rapidly -- it is one of the trees which can come in after an extensive burn. For the pollen record, the effect of early agriculture is as severe as a shift in climate.
See,' said (Liberty Hyde) Bailey, 'how the leaves of this small plant stand forth extended to bathe themselves in the light. ... THese leaves will die. They will rot. They will disappear into the universal mold. The energy that is in them will be released to reappear, the ions to act again, perhaps in the corn on the plain, perhaps in the body of a bird. The atoms and the ions remain or resurrect; the forms change and flux. We see the forms and mourn the change. We think all is lost; yet nothing is lost. The harmony of life is never ending.' The economy of nature provides that nothing be lost.
Considering the comparative lifespans of simpler tribal societies and that of the more advanced agri-urban empires of antiquity, even here in the New World, it would be possible, indeed, to make out quite a case for illiteracy as a factor of the safety in keeping population and essential supplies in a working balance, with little or no damage to the basic sources of renewal.
[Y]our agricultural revolution is not an event like the Trojan War, isolated in the distant past and without relevance to your lives today. The work begun by those neolithic farmers in the Near East has been carried forward from one generation to the next without a single break, right into the present moment. It's the foundation of your vast civilization today in exactly the same way that it was the foundation of the very first farming village.