Saturday, September 16, 2006

Climate Change Caused Civilisation, Scientist Says

By Alok Jha, science correspondent, Guardian, September 8, 2006

More information that helps to back up the theories of state origin in “Saharasia” and “The Primal Wound” (1) The only problem is that the article fails to distinguish between a complex society or civilization and one that has a state. Complex societies such as those of Old Europe or Catyl Huyuk in Turkey existed BEFORE climate dessication and the invention of the state.

An increase in harsh, arid conditions across the globe around 5,000 years ago forced people to start living in stable communities around remaining water sources. The major shift in climate, caused by natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit around the sun, weakened the monsoon systems in the northern hemisphere, where humans had previously enjoyed a fruitful hunter-gatherer existence.

"We can certainly say that the earliest civilisations arose on the backdrop of increasing aridity, which are driven by natural, global-scale changes in climate," said Nick Brooks of the University of East Anglia. "The cultural transitions track changes in environmental conditions quite closely."

Speaking at the British Association festival of science in Norwich, Dr Brooks said his research turned traditional ideas of how the world's first civilisations - such as those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley region and South America - on their head...

Many anthropologists think that civilisation was spread gradually among populations after it began in some part of the world. "A current popular theory is that the world's first civilisation developed because it could; the environment was relatively benign," said Dr Brooks. "This is based on the argument of the last 10,000 years being climatically very stable and quite conducive to flourishing of agriculture and large, urban civilisations."

But Dr Brooks argued that civilisation arose instead from environmental catastrophes. His work is focused on the Sahara region, where he says the cultural history shows that, around 5-10,000 years ago, the humid areas there abruptly changed into the Sahara desert we see today.

He added that the story was similar in the other cradles of civilisation around the world. "We find similar evidence for increasing aridity ... and the emergence of urban centres where people have been forced to congregate by a drying environment."

Dr Brooks said that the emergence of society was not a universally positive development. For a lot of people, life got harder. "We have increases in social inequality, hierarchy, organised violence and warfare," he said. "People are labouring in the fields as agriculturalists not only for themselves but also for non food producers."

There was even a decrease in life expectancy in some areas: an ancient Egyptian or Roman had a shorter life than the average hunter-gatherers that preceded those societies, for

Without the driving force of climate change, human societies might have evolved far more slowly, said Dr Brooks. "Maybe we would have remained village farmers and herders, hunter-gatherers and so on," he said. "Perhaps you'd have a more disparate, less population-dense kind of civilisation."


Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

If, because of good old climate change, humans (and other animals?) are forced to relocate to remaining sources of water Canada may well become the most populous country on Earth. It is therefore possible Regina may one day be granted an NHL franchise.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

Water in Regina? That's a joke! We've had almost no rain from June to the end of August. AND the only way that "big" hockey would come here would be if the municipal politicians and their business buddies decide to bail "them" out (with taxpayer's money) just like they've been doing for the Roughriders. No thanks...

9:31 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I am thinking of starting a banana plantation on my property when global warming really hits. We already grow banana plants as outdoor ornamentals here in Nanaimo, but its too cold to fruit. But that may change. Now if we could just import some monkeys. In the meatime members of the Conservative Party will make good substitutes.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

Curiouser and Curiouser ...

3:09 AM  

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