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Collapse How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed Kindle

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?In 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 equation What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin and what can we learn from their fates?As 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 damage 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 MontanaBrilliant 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?


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    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 quit 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