How is it possible that these hardy, intelligent people could have failed to adapt their diet in such an obvious way? Nothing is more tragic than the Easter Island chapter, it is breathtaking the research and evidence that proves why they disappeared, and tragic if you think about it in the context of our earth, from which we really cannot escape, same as the Easter Islanders. Deforestation and loss of habitat 2. Extremely repetitive, inadequately researched, highly speculative, and overly assertive. A grand and very fine book indeed. He also very much emphasizes consumer ability to exert pressure on companies to shift to more environmentally friendly habits. 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 electrifying.
Diamond also points out another argument people use to justify environmental destruction: well the environment is a luxury and we need to do everything we can for our economy which includes destroying the environment. In a separate chapter on the latter he identifies reasons for inadequate responses as: failure to anticipate a problem either because it had not happened before — or particularly in pre-literate societies because they have forgotten past occurrences, or because of misapplying analogies e. Increased per capita impact of people 8. He's right, but there is a conflict between egalitarianism and environmentalism lurking between the pages of this book: I don't think you can charge the right amount for energy or food or other essentials without further immiserating the poor. This exhaustive study in Malthusian economics as applied to several societies in history that have failed, such as the Easter Islanders and Greenland Norse, details the thematic traits common to each example. The author tells of his students wondering how it is that someone could cut down the last tree on Easter Island, but one might equally wonder in our democratic era how it is that we have allowed huge private entities to have so much power over our lives and permitted such a mal-distribution of resources and earnings. But, the strength of the book comes from the the way he combines results from all these fields to create straightforward narratives of what might have happened as various communities rose and fell.
If I were really to make a comprehensive shelf of Books I Feel Like a Lazy Jerk for Not Having Read, Guns, Germs and Steel would also be on it. But the Norse Greelanders were medieval Europeans who desperately tried to hold on to their European Christian roots in Greenland, but they all ended up dying sometime in the 15th century. The harsh reality, as Diamond clearly shows, is that one way or another the collapse of most societies over the centuries has been tied to too many people producing too little food - the Law of Malthus. But, the title is a bit inflammatory. It's interesting and remarkable that whole societies exhibit the same behavior. Indeed, here Diamond the scientist persistently gets in the way of Diamond the popular writer.
In one of Jared Diamond's earlier books, Guns, Germs and Steel, he explored the role of man's natural environment in shaping the unique nature of the human societies that emerged in different regions of the world. Collapse is a magisterial effort packed with insight and written with clarity and enthusiasm. For instance, his discussion of Viking Greenland v. Bush-Cheney have been terrible to America, and to the rest of the world. Big businesses and the environment : different conditions, different outcomes -- Resource extraction -- Two oil fields -- Oil company motives -- Hardrock mining operations -- Mining company motives -- Differences among mining companies -- The logging industry -- Forest Stewardship Council -- The seafood industry -- Businesses and the public -- 16. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterdayand 151;in evolutionary timeand 151;when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.
As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Generally, Collapse lacks the consistency of Diamond's most well known book, Guns, Germs and Steel. Which of these treasured values must instead be jettisoned and replaced with different approaches? Governments have the power to create regulations about how the environment can be used or preserved in order to stop resource depletion. Modern examples of collapses include Rwanda and Haiti. They used all of their trees, which led to soil erosion, which led to food shortages, which led to cannibalism. It's also a bit heavy literally for subway reading, and returning to New York from California with it combined with the prospect of learning about China's impact on the environment was just too much for this reader. Diamond quickly moves on from Montana and illustrates the role of ecological problems in societal collapses by comparing past societies that collapsed as opposed to declined throughout history.
It can be read by the lay person but the dense material might be daunting for some people. So Collapse is sitting on my real-life, non-virtual bookshelf with a JetBlue boaring pass marking my place, frozen in time like the artifact of some extinct civilization. So, a standard textbook treatment of an interesting topic, nothing special at least it was accessible , but this is just the better half… The Farcical: --It is comical when enlightened minds from the great liberal institutions of higher education judging by the numerous prestigious science awards with Mr. And he gets a lot wrong, at least on the things I know something about Easter Island, for example, where his Collapse hypothesis is generally regarded by people who actually study the island's history and prehistory as wildly off-base and unsupported by evidence. 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 Montana. Diamond looks in detail at the factors at play in the demise of civilizations in human history, using a wide range of examples. Bush remains unconvinced of the reality of global warming.
I do think tech and innovation can be tools to help us, but they all have various externalities and can cause new problems of their own, plus in regards to environment, since the systems are all so interconnected you destroy or damage one aspect it can lead to a grand cascade. At the end, he also talks about some present-day cases where we still don't know what will happen. 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. Even the communist Chinese, after a series of disastrous economic decisions in the 1960s and 70s, finally decided that population growth would have to be curtailed if China and its people were to survive. The fact is, in a market economy, where profit is the motive, successful companies will pollute to the full extent that our laws and attitudes allow. I think it annoys me, lol.
This is a major work. This is a difficult book to give one rating to. Still, I thought it was very good, the historical examples of collapse and also the examples of societies that successfully changed to avoid disaster were interesting. The section on Easter Island is one of the most memorable things I've read in the past few years, and I'd recommend it to anyone. He discusses civilizations successful addressing of crisis in a top-down matter such as the deforestation that was turned around in Japan early in Tokugawa Era 1603-1867 and in bottom up as was done in-the New Guinea highlands and contrasts how their management of their environments contrasted to the collapsed civilizations.
The cottage owners are certainly not going to recommend logging or allowing fires of any sort to threaten their investments. And it doesn't disa So I was in Belize for the holiday and became fascinated with all the Mayan ruins I visited. Not even for any of the most-studied cases of collapse, described in my book, do we understand what happened to people in the final phase: were there mass deaths from starvation, or did people abandon the site and resettle elsewhere, or was there just a small excess of deaths over births that produced a slow decline in population? As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Lipo, , , 9 March 2006. The concept of sustainable living might be a high priority for me but it is very hard given the way the system is set up, I still generate a massive amount of trash and use tons of energy… this is not to sidestep accountability, because I should be held accountable and I can do better and many things I can do. The overriding theme of human history, the author feels, is that societies aren't murdered; they commit suicide. Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide? Deforestation and loss of habitat 2.