In my world, people are aware and conscientious. They live like farmers in rich and clean natural environments. There is plenty of crops to sustain any kind of family. Waters are clean, fields are rich.

In such a prosperous world, people have become again worried about survival. They see how many creatures are being destroyed in various activities (house and road building, working of fields, etc.) and now they want to know how to survive without harming any creature.

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    $\begingroup$ So they're Buddhists? Read up on those cultures. $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '19 at 2:42
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    $\begingroup$ When you say "any creature" are you including single celled yeasts? If not then auto-tropism may be the only alternative to suicide by starvation. What was the question again? $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '19 at 3:08
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    $\begingroup$ vegetarianism.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '19 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ You think farming is generally harmless to animals? Aside from growing crops, farming typically harms animals. Specially with harvesting food from animals. The animals are basically culled. The farmers are just compartmentalized about it. So the farmers can be caring of the animal & when it the animal's time. Well, you know... There's a reason they're called livestock. $\endgroup$
    – Dehbop
    Sep 29 '19 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ without a definition of "creature" this is unanswerable. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 29 '19 at 16:23

The fruit answer seems to have a good point.

However, we human do not only kill for food, but we also kill for survival or by accident.

By accident we kill when for example we swallow something, often invisible, that was either in our food or our drink.Whatever is in there often finds death in the digestion/assimilation.

And if it doesn't, we get further problem. Leading to the second killing reason: survival.

If a bacteria or a virus is in our body, we cannot simply say "please, have a sit and feel at home. Our body will actively seek and destroy them! And that because it wants to survive.

So, no, we cannot survive without killing other creatures. Every time our immune system works, it does by exterminating other creatures.



By which I include things like beans and legumes, as they are seeds. See, the thing is that trees make fruit specifically for the consumption of herbivores. The idea being that said herbivore eats the fruits, then the seeds are deposited in a nutrient-rich soil when they go through the animal's digestion tract and are excreted. So, no matter how kumbaya your society is against eating living things, they can't have anything against eating something specifically designed to be eaten.


We're going to need two sliders for this question.

The first slider defines 'creature'. On one end, viruses, and on the other end, we'll use humans (as an anthropocentric example). You could set the slider to be placed s.t. plants are not considered creatures, or you could set it elsewhere.

The second slider defines what constitutes harming a creature. This can range from purposefully destroying a creature to accidentally harming a creature as an externality of an act of society.

The blunt answer to this question will be that it is impossible if plants are considered creatures, as humans cannot subsist off of anything less complex than plants. In addition, something as 'simple' as mowing a lawn or cutting down a tree absolutely destroys the habitat of hundreds if not thousands of insects and animals, and many will die in the process. Most likely, the intent is not to harm the lives of those depending on the habitat, but as an externality, that is the result.

Let's limit ourselves to creatures being defined as animals and harm being considered direct harm (i.e. accidentally stepping on an ant does not count as 'harm' since the human is likely unaware of their action, and plowing a field does not count since the intention of the action is not to destroy habitats or kill the inhabitants).

First, it is likely that raising animals is not an option. By raising a carnivore such as a dog, you are forcing harm upon other animals in order to feed your dog. By raising an herbivore such as a sheep, you are forced to perform reproductive control or face Malthusian population crashes/mass death due to lack of food, both of which could be considered harmful due to the human either interfering with the animal or watching them all starve.

Second, the above logic applies to humans as well. There are only so many resources and there is only so much space. In your question you noted that there are clean natural environments and plenty of rich fertile fields. The only practical way to support a growing human population is to destroy the 'clean' and 'natural' aspect if the 'space' issue is to be addressed due to the constraints of the problem. After all, if there is not enough food and water, people will have to address the shortage with either technological innovation, culling, or starvation, and only the first option doesn't involve inflicting harm upon other humans.

In short, one possible way for humans to survive and allow their population to expand without harming any animal creature is to use technological innovation to allow for a vegetarian diet with productivity tied to the rate of population growth. In addition, humans will have to refrain from excessive reproduction in order to keep their population growth sustainable.

This is but one possible answer. There are definitely other points that could result in alternate conclusions - the important thing is that whatever solution you choose for your world is internally consistent.


I think, It is impossible to live without harming anything as we are no different to other animals. There are some observations in this context:

  • We kill plants or animals for food. Other creatures do the same. Ex. Lions kill rabbit, Birds kill insects, Seagull kill fishes etc.
  • We compete with each other so that we get dominance over them. Other creatures do the same. Ex. Weed compete with other plant for water, soil and other things.

I think it would be close to impossible. Any food grown by humans can also be eaten by animals. Without any measures to prevent animals from getting to the food we are growing for ourselves, the animal population will simply boom and consume all the food. Once their numbers increase, they become a risk for humans, especially if we aren't to harm them.

A fence or net isn't going to stop animals from getting around it, especially if the food on the other side is extremely tempting. You have animals which can burrow, jump, fly, chew and gnaw through nets and walls to get to food. Without proper controls, they will simply eat and reproduce and eat and reproduce until the population is unmanageable and all the food is gone (followed by a large amount of deaths due to starvation).

Introducing other species also won't help, but you can just look at history to see why.


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