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Why Civilizations Collapse

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INDIA-WEATHER-FLOODSA Lesson for Climate Change

Modern society is technologically far superior to any that has gone before, we have all the means to head off the worst effects of climate change and adapt to those we cannot avoid. History tells us however that the most common reason societies collapse is not inadequate science or technology but failure to take the difficult decisions necessary for survival

Prof. Peter Saunders

Surviving environmental disasters

As the world faces the challenge of climate change, it is instructive to recall that this is by no means the first time humans have had to cope with similar problems. Many societies have found themselves in serious trouble because of an unwelcome change in their environment. It may have been something over which they had no control, like the onset of the Little Ice Age in the 15th century, or they may have brought it upon themselves, all too often by clearing forests, or perhaps a combination of the two. Some societies survived, others did not.  

Long before the Spanish arrived, the Mayans of Central America had already abandoned their magnificent cities because of drought. Deforestation destroyed the Easter Island society that erected the famous statues, though a very much reduced population continued to live on the island. Others, like the Norwegian settlers in Greenland, and the original inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, died out completely.

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