Human activity has contributed a lot to the poor condition of the environment today. The condition of the environment today is not the same as it was during the periods preceding the industrial revolution. There were, however, certain activities even during this time period that contributed to environmental changes. These included activities such as extensive farming practices, extensive hunting and fishing, and mining. Activities such as hunting and fishing led to an imbalance in the ecosystem. There was also much deforestation firewood was the main source of fuel.
According to the AWG theory, man’s activities are responsible for the green-house effect and global warming being experienced.The damage caused by this could be seen in Latin America. During prehistoric times, the land in many of Latin America’s coastal towns was very fertile and agricultural land was abundant. The climatic conditions were very favorable for agriculture and the land was home to many species of wildlife. Today, much of this land is abandoned. Excessive hunting also played a role in the destruction of the environment. It creates an imbalance in the ecosystem and this negatively impacts on the environment.
During pre-industrial times, environmental degradation contributed to the collapse of many societies. As more forests were cleared for agricultural land, weather patterns changed and harsh weather conditions such as droughts became more prevalent. The Maya of Central America and Easter Island are example of one such society. Prolonged periods of drought due to climatic changes led to the decline of the Maya. There were periods of high rainfall which led to increased productivity, which in turn led to an increase in population. The result of this was overexploitation of the available resources, which in turn led to warfare and political instability.
One historical process that contributed to anthropogenic climate change was the industrial revolution. During the industrial evolution there was a lot of pollution coming from the many emerging industries. The air pollution resulted in smog and the death of many people especially in big cities such as London. Many of the industries dumped their waste products in the seas and other water bodies. An example of this is the Gran Canal in México. This resulted in water pollution and water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. The living conditions were terrible and there were demands for reforms and conservation by activist groups.
Man’s activities have been responsible for the sun’s rays not being able to reach the earth, and this has also affected nature. Global warming resulting from man’s activities has led to the reduction of ice in the Arctic Ocean and this has had devastating effects. Such trends are responsible for flooding in many parts of the world, and there is very little time left to act.
Human activity is responsible for the pollution of many rivers. The Gran Canal in Mexico City is heavily polluted as a result of people dumping their waste products in it. This is very different from what it was in the 1900s when it was first built. At that time, it was one of the greatest achievements of their time, and people marveled at the ingenious work.
In the 17th century, people practiced crop rotation. This ensured that they did not overuse any particular portion of land or deplete its nutrients. During the 20th century, the people of South America put to use organic fertilizers. During this period, they experienced high yields year after year. Even previously unproductive lands became productive due to this practice. Their practices did not harm the environment as the organic fertilizers they used were biodegradable.
There are also those who believe that global warming is good. According to Swenson (2011), civilizations such as the Romans arose during very warm periods, but when they entered 400 years of cooler weather, they were overrun by the Huns. The Egyptians also flourished during much warmer weather. He argues that the industrial revolution occurred during one of the cooler periods of history, and it is therefore not logical to blame it for global warming. The earth was cooling during periods when there was the highest amount of carbon dioxide being produced.
Why the issue of climate is so politicized
The issue of climate change which is more of a scientific issue has been politicized because of money. One of the measures recommended in reducing global warming is putting an end to the use of fossil fuels. These measures will to a great extent affect fossil fuel industries. Fossil fuel industries make millions of dollars, and the discontinuation of fossil fuel would negatively affect them. Many of these organizations, their shareholders and other beneficiaries who stand to loose a lot could invest in misinforming the public so as to remain in business.
Although many politicians admit that the changes in climatic conditions are worrying, few people care enough to actually do something about it. In some instances, it appears politically incorrect to even bring up the issue of climate change. Many people tend to forget about any discussions they may have heard concerning climate change and the environment almost immediately. Politicians tend to focus more on other matters which are not as controversial, possibly for fear of any negative repercussions such discussions could have on their well-being or on their political ambitions. It is possible that some of the politicians could be shareholders in the fossil fuel companies and may not be willing to see fossil fuel discontinued.
Humankind should learn from the mistakes made by ancient societies such as the Maya and start looking into the issue of climate change seriously. Changes in climate have wiped entire civilizations, and if the current trends do not change, it could do more harm. Preserving the earth is no only useful to us but to the generations to come. People should therefore adopt eco-friendly practices with the next generation in mind.
Diamond, Jared. The Maya Collapses, in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Penguin, 2005.
Earth, BBC. "The Climate Wars." Youtube. January 20, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfkLHxQe-SU .
Hughes, William Beinart and Lotte. Hunting, Wildlife, and Imperialism in Southern Africa, in Environment and Empire. Oxford: Oxford university Press, 2009.
Kasas, Sjur. "Industrial Revolutions and Environmental Problems." In Confluence Interdisciplinary Communications, by Willy Streng, 70-74. Oslo: Centre for Advanced Study, 2009.
McKibben, Bill. "Think Again: Climate Change." Foreign Policy, 2009.
Miller, Shawn William. "Human Determination." In An Environmental History of Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Ponting, Clive. The Lessons of Easter, in A new Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations . New York: Penguin, 2007.
Swemson, F. "The Global Warming Hoax: How Soon We Forget." American Thinker, n.d.: 2011.