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Natural Environment How Human History has been impacted by the environment, science, nature, geography, weather, and natural phenomena

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Old January 4th, 2013, 12:43 PM   #1
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Recommend reading re: the envirvonment

UCLA's Dr. Jared Diamond's "Collapse".

The case histories of civilizations that either failed and perished or prospered depending on how the treated their environments.
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Old January 4th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #2

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I've not read it but I just checked it out and I pretty much agree with his historical and political analyses, I've long held much of this view too. Another example would be the collapse of Angkor in Cambodia.

However he doesn't make just an this observation, he has a opinion and a bias too.

His opinion is as an environmentalist this is a terrible thing and we should reform our society to stop it and as a scientist he makes an enlightenment bias we are rationally choosing to do destroy our world and can rationally control our behaviour.

To address the second point, he analysed many human societies, and drew a conclusion from looking at them. I will extend it to animal societies. Chimpanzee and gorilla groups, packs of wolves and so on. These share the same tendency as us to use up resources, to war over territory in the name of resources, to outgrow the food supply and even move on to more lush pastures or experience rapid depopulation. So the scientific enlightenment bias that we are doing it rationally is wrong. Animals are not doing it from reason, they are doing it because they are animals simply behaving like animals, and that's what we are too, animals. We will over exploit our environment because that's what we animals do, we will use it up because that's what we animals do, and we will collapse our civilisation and rapidly depopulate because that's what we animals do and we have no rational control over this as animals behaving exactly as animals do.

On his first point, after what I just said there is no point being an environmentalist at all. We may just as well consume, waste and enjoy while the supply lasts.
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Old January 5th, 2013, 08:45 AM   #3
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Diamond's assessment also includes case-study examples of societies and cultures that preserved their environments and thrived as a result.

We recently had occasion to visit Mesa Verde National Park and climbed down into the cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblans (Anazazi) existing 1,200 years before Christ.

The visit was well-worth the climb down and up from the cliff-city which has been preserved by the US National Park Service who also provided us with a guide/ lecturer.

Yet the Anazazi failed to adapt to changing conditions imposed by the enviroment and competing cultures.

In contrastr, Diamond also details the Norse settlement of Greenland which nearly perished when it failed to follow the indigenous population's agricltural practices using those from their homeland. In time the Norse came to realize their folly and adopted the "old ways" that lead to their success and survival.

And that one one of the success stories of adaptation to the environmental conditions.

"Collapse" is a must-read IMO.

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Old January 24th, 2013, 06:13 PM   #4

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whoa -- just going through old threads and you popped up here -- didn't make the connection - now i have

i was living in New Mex in the 90's -- i went there in the middle of winter -- of course, i was the only one dummy enough to be there - alone --- it was about 20 to 25 and i climbed all over there --

course, if i had fallen - we wouldn't be talking -- i've done some off the wall things in my life -
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