SUMMARY Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed î PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB

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SUMMARY Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed î PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ↠ Brilliant illuminating and immensely absorbing Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time raising the urgent uestion How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicidBrilliant illuminating and immensely absorbing Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time raising the urgent uestion How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicideIn his million copy bestseller Guns Germs and Steel Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world Now in this brilliant companion volume Diamond probes the other side of the euation Wha. Jared Diamond looks at several societies that have collapsed as a result of misusing their natural resources plus a couple Tokugawa period Japan is the star example that miraculously managed to pull back from the brink At the end he also talks about some present day cases where we still don't know what will happen The one my thoughts keep returning to is medieval Greenland which Diamond discusses in a long and detailed chapter Settled in the 11th century by Vikings originally from Norway the colonists brought with them their whole way of life which was heavily organized around dairy farming There is an eerie description of a huge barn with room for 80 head of cattle; the ruins can still be seen today The colony survived for several hundred years and was then wiped out to the last man by worsening weather and the decline in the European market for narwhale ivoryBut here's the really odd thing The colonists never ate fish despite the fact that it formed the staple diet of the indigenous Greenland Eskimos Diamond says that every single archaeologist who's studied the settlement starts off convinced that there must have been some kind of mistake How is it possible that these hardy intelligent people could have failed to adapt their diet in such an obvious way But the evidence from middens is apparently rock solid For whatever reason they would not make use of this plentiful natural resource which could easily have saved them; they perished insteadIncomprehensible isn't it Needless to say our own society's reluctance to invest than a token amount of money in developing cheap solar power is different The two cases are in no way comparableJust back from Australia where I had several illuminating discussions with various people about solar energy Australia is almost certainly the country where it would work best Population density is very low and there is abundant sunlight The technology already exists to build cheap solar power stationsSo why don't they do it Apparently building the power stations in desert areas isn't economically viable unless national resources are diverted to connect them to the national grid But the powerful coal lobby hates the idea and has blocked it at every turn Neither left wing nor right wing politicians dare oppose themYou often see individuals doing this kind of thing even though a given course of action is evidently going to benefit them leave their abusive partner stop binge drinking they are unable to summon the willpower to uit It's interesting and remarkable that whole societies exhibit the same behaviorAs previously noted Tony Abbott is really doing everything he can to consolidate his position as the new Dubya

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Age climate change rapid population growth and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies but other societies found solutions and persisted Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways Despite our own society's apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montan. The halfway point reviewOne uestion I've been wrestling with as I read as I watch these societies move slightly past sustainability as I read about societal collapse and the suandering of resources by the wealthy and then the inevitable cannibalism that always seems to show up in the last act I keep asking myself how the environment became a political issue There's no uestion that environmental resources aren't infinite yet it seems like the majority of peopleor at least the loudest factioncare less about human life on earth than their own comfort and status Or else how can they justify placing jobs business interests or anything else ahead of the environment in their valuesIs it because environmental damage is such a gradual process If so we need to come up with some way to drive home the importance of creating a sustainable way of living Politicians hedging around environmental issues while placing these issues on the same level of importance as gays in the military is clearly not getting us anywhere Literature on the dangers of global warming and about the human effects on the environment isn't going to get the point across to those who willfully avoid learning about the topic Does the environmental movement need advertisements More celebrity endorsements I hate asking rhetorical uestions even if my goal is to generate conversation so my hypothesis without any evidence to support it is YES we need a much fucking better PR department and we need it uickly If we are going to keep the global society from reaching the point of some real collapse we need to change the rhetoric with which we talk about the environment The environment is an abstract out there that doesn't necessarily include human babies or grandchildren The way we abstractly think of the environment makes this separation of humans from their environment easier We need rhetoric that makes it clear that when we speak of the environment what we are really concerned with is the continued ability for humanity to survive on this planet What we're talking about isn't separate from people physically or ethically I'll end my halfway point review by bringing up the personal guilt that reading these pages has reawakened in me Reading about the way the Easter Islanders suandered resources building the tremendous statues and headpieces for the glorification of rich people has reminded me of my own complicity I've always thought of myself as an environmentalist I take the light rail whenever possible recycle eat with an awareness of where my food comes from But even as someone passionate about the environment I've spent several years working at a bank I've spent my time too focused on my own education to dedicate much time to preservationwhich is what I'm complaining about others doing What have I truly done to rebel against a society that places greed and opulence above sustainability I've found ways to reduce the damage that I inflict but I have done nothing to challenge my society's destructive way of being So what right do I have to climb up on my soap box

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Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or SucceedT caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin and what can we learn from their fatesAs in Guns Germs and Steel Diamond weaves an all encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical cultural narratives Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe Environmental dam. I considered giving this book 4 instead of 5 stars simply because it can be over dense in its detail and the style can be rather dry but then I figured that says about my stamina and laziness than about the uality of the book so the book gets 5 and I get a 4 for effort We're all winnersSo despite the headline grabbing title the author Jared Diamond a cross between an Amish garden gnome and avuncular Glastonbury festival supremo if you go by his picture tries its darndest to avoid sensationalism and the author opts instead for what is sorely needed in the environmental debate sober empirical analysis But don't let that put you off once you put your brain into the right gear this book can be completely consuming and fascinating and the message and lessons it gives are electrifyingDiamond examines in turn a number of societies ancient and modern successful or unsuccessful and forensically examines what were the factors in their collapse or survival before turning to our modern global society to ask what lessons we can apply from those past cases to the predicament we face today We learn about the Easter Islanders about whom one of Diamond's pupils asked What was going through the mind of the man who chopped down the last tree on the island the Anasazi the Maya the Greenland Norse and Greenland Inuit modern day Australia and Montana shogun ruled Japan and othersHe identifies common environmental problems which collapsed societies have tended to share deforestation and soil erosion as well as resource depletion cropping up again and again as well as cultural factors such as systems of government and contact with other societies He cites some incredible studies such as the examination of ancient middens of crystallised rodents' piss and of pond sediments to show how we can unravel the mysteries of some of these collapses by using the study of for example pollen in sediment or animal bones in middens to paint a vivid picture of climates deforestation and diets at precise times in these societies' stories It was this uite academic precision that gave me a uiet thrill and which gives this book its calm authorityDiamond ends by looking at our modern global society and assessing its chances of overcoming the sheer number breadth scale and interconnectedness of the ecological problems facing us and although he insists he is an optimist and argues that our globalised society gives us advantages in finding solutions as well as giving us zero escape routes if we fail by the time you finish reading you feel that as a planet we've got a sheer cliff face to climb and his optimism sounds a little disingenuous But educating yourself to understand these issues is a necessary step to doing your bit and this book will certainly arm you with the sobering facts If only the debate were always conducted in these civilised in the best sense of the word terms