As the humankind evolves and studies its past, it becomes increasingly clear that formerly grand civilizations must have faced serious issues resulting in their collapse. Many scientists argue about the nature of these problems that caused such terrible consequences. Nevertheless, it did happen in the past and, unfortunately, can happen again if the human beings will not learn the lesson from history.
While there are different points of view on the reasons of collapse, the pivotal part remains the same: it is the inability of civilizations to adapt to new changes. Most common causes for destruction involve environmental problems, which is no wonder since the relationships between humankind and nature are based on mutual interdependence. People just cannot continue treating the environment irresponsibly and hope that the resources would restore. According to Diamond (2005), there are eight categories within the environmental damage that cause this ecological collapse. Among these categories are vanishing forests and habitat destruction, overpopulation, increased per capita impact of people, water management problems, soil problems, overhunting and overfishing, as well as implications of newly introduced species upon native species.
Diamond (2005) also distinguishes several problems that have arisen relatively not long ago. These factors include the anthropogenic climate change, oversaturation of toxins in the environment, energy and resources shortages, along with the full utilization of the Earth’s photosynthetic capacity by humans.
It is remarkable that all the collapses of the past were initiated by one cause but rather quickly overflew to other domains, as well. For instance, the growth of human population required the increase of provision supplies. In its turn, the necessity of providing people with food resulted in excessive hunting and fishing. Moreover, farming was also affected by the implementation of intensified means in agricultural activities. The soil requires time to restore and become saturated with necessary chemical substance in order to victual humans with quality products rich in nutrients. Therefore, when the nature is being ignored, these unsustainable practices lead to severe environmental damages. Consequently, this process results in grave consequences for various societies including starvation, spread of diseases, wars for new territories rich with various resources, etc. Eventually, it leads to a collapse of civilization once being in its versatile peak of development.
Many researches draw analogies between the trajectories of human society’s development and the course of personal human-being’s life. Both types of evolution involve concrete phases of development including birth and growth, peak and senescence, and finally death. Meanwhile, each case of past collapses was unique varying from complete distinction of civilization to its partial destruction.
McAnany and Negron argue about the popular in academic circles account provided by Diamond and other researches in this field since it can sensationalize and decontextualize the past. The simplistic historical narratives are only based on a narrow range of sources resulting in oversight of the extraordinary resilience of the outstanding civilizations of the past. McAnany and Negron emphasize that the examination of data must be thorough and careful, since people tend to transfer the former experience and apply to the contemporary state of affairs regardless of circumstances and conditions.
The thorough study of the past collapses is of paramount importance. It allows modern people to analyze what went wrong in order to avoid these regrettable consequences in the future. It will not result in the emergence of easy solutions to all the acute contemporary problems since modern people are in possession of diverse benefits such as technologies, medicine and even the ability to go round the world in a significantly short space of time. Nevertheless, with a purpose to solve modern issues, it is crucial to draw a lesson from the experience of the ancestors.