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I recently "salvaged" an ancient piano that was in such a state of
decay that restoration was hopeless. I got a lot of antique elephant
ivory from the keys. I also saved some nice ebony wood which was
used to make the black keys. Both these materials are restricted. The
fact that these particular pieces were "taken from the wild" early in
the last century makes their use legal, or so I have been assured. I
personally feel absolutely no guilt in using them appropriately. As
a professional biologist (Professor Emeritus) I am aware that the
pauperization of our natural world is largely due to other forms of
neglect, avarice, greed, neglect and ignorance rather than to the
use of natural materials for making jewelry. However, as damage to
the global life net is occurring at startling rates, care and action
should be taken. Having some knowledge about where power lies and
the about the inertia or hysteresis in social response, I am
currently unsure about what action would be both appropriate and
functional. I spent the better part of the last century working on
this problem. In the face of what I see now, I don't need any extra
windmills to tilt. Take great care but be rational. I can discuss in
detail the Malthusian principal and list, with examples, why
populations crash. This has been certain for far longer than I have
lived. Our culture and the human species often gives mouthwork to
these principles, acts upon them in narrow circumstances, and then
proceeds with the program that says, "Well, you can't stop progress".
I have shouted and written many times questioning: a) why not? b)
what is progress?
I will use my piano parts with secure knowledge that it is harmless
and fair. Remember, please take great care but please be rational.
I will probably be sorry I wrote this because it will probably draw
abuse but that has seldom stopped me in the past.