Concept of borders

Each human may have an idea of their own space, and a sense of where they draw their border concept lines. A person may stand too close to us and we will say ‘”don’t crowd me” or “get out of my space!”

A teenager may not permit easy entry to their bedroom, saying “at least knock first!”

We may not like the idea of any stranger walking through our gate and walking straight into our house. That may seem threatening and we could be alarmed. We may lock our gates and doors to avoid that happening.

We may put up walls and fences to stop animals as well as humans walking on to “our land”, even if we are renting the land, whilst we are there it feels like “ours”.

If we live in communities we will have a concept of what it means to “belong” to that community or be alienated from it even if we are in its midst. We may support one another in times of crises, maybe share what we have in times of hardship. We may all fight together against a community perceived enemy. That enemy may threaten our perceived border which may be marked by a river, an irrigation strip, a field or woodland. It may not be clear where the border even is to a stranger.

One of the earliest border disputes actually recorded in history was within what is known now as Iraq. Over 4,700 years ago there was a dispute in the area of the Tigris river. It was an Assyrian land and the Sumerian farming people lived there. Their belief system was of gods who influenced the success or failure of their farming efforts. All early farming still retained the previously nomadic tribal groupings. Thus, this border dispute was between 2 tribes on either side of an irrigation strip. What began about access to some especially fertile land ended as a war with many dead.

Read the story here:

In August 2017 I posted a blog about the movement of people of the Sahara. In it I put this:

 2007, Iain Stewart and joint author John Lynch wrote in their book Earth: the power of the planet, 2007, about a series of events which created the Sahara desertification:

 “A small change in the distribution of incoming solar radiation, due to a subtle change in the Earth’s orbit, had weakened the equatorial storms that fed the African monsoons. Within a few decades, the tropical summer rains that once watered much of Northern Africa had retreated south, and vast areas of woodland and marsh had become parched wastelands. Over the following centuries, the drifting sands of the desert spread north as well, and the ancient peoples who had farmed the once fertile Sahara heartland were pushed out. Part of the exodus moved east to settle a river valley that had previously been too marshy, and so began the Nile civilisation and the age of the pharaohs. Others remained in isolated havens where water was still available, but by 2000 years ago only one group of hardy people was left holding back the desert: the Garmanthians, skilled charioteers who held in check the southward advances of imperial Rome. But on their flank, the advance of the desert was unstoppable. By AD 500, the Garmanthian culture was gone, its people scattered to a nomadic existence and its ruins buried beneath the sand.”

Natural processes on this amazing planet create finite resources which humans utilise in order to improve their survival chances. As the resources run out or become hostile to life, they migrate to find safety, shelter, water and food. Our nomadic life is normal. But migration of humans in a planet of over 8 billion is now much more precarious and difficult.

Before Europeans spread across North America, tribes of indigenous people organised the land into territories for various tribes.

Similarly, as I wrote in an earlier blog in the theme of the Iberian Peninsula, the land was once divided into tribal areas.

And in Scotland:

The sense of territory occurred once nomadic people became farmers and settled in homesteads. But when lands would not be suitable for grazing animals which were owned by farmers, they would go with their animals to seasonal productive pastures and be travellers once more.

I have written, in previous blogs, of this travel-induced behaviour which links with ownership of animals seeking suitable pastures and water. Since humans began domesticating animals or having an interdependent relationship with herds, we are both protectors and exploiters of the animals we need for food and clothing.

But, with land less free on which to graze and find freshwater, fenced borders or limits of movement impede this ancient custom.

Interesting to read about the Sami culture and their ancient history ties to herding reindeer. Now they have to negotiate the route for their herds which once knew no borders.

And whilst they walk over melting permafrost, as in 2016, there is the chance of a repetition of what happened then. A reindeer carcass, once preserved in the permafrost, became exposed to the warming climate air. This released the anthrax spores which had caused its death 75 years earlier. As a result, 2,000 reindeer died, plus one small boy.

At the Mexican border, thousands are suffering bitter cold as the present (Dec 25 to New Year) plummet in temps caused by climate change wreaks havoc across the country.

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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