=A GREEN HISTORY OF THE WORLD BY CLIVE PONTING

 

The foundations of history chapter 2

Influence of the physical world, significance and role of ecosystems, effect on human history

 

Ninety nine percent of human history ch 3

Way of life among gathering and hunting groups- spread of human settlement - variations in subsistence techniques - impact on the environment

 

The amouint of effort required to get foor for the bushman is 2 1/2 days a week.The work is steady throughout the year and rarely involves travelling more than 6 miles a day.Women and men work abou t the same hours, but bring in much more.Women wor about 3 hours a day.40% play no role in food gathering.One in 10 are over 60 and premaried folk donít gather either.

 

Many currently donít envy agricultural workers.

It is gathering and hunting because hu

nts are successful only 1 of 10 times in carnivor animals

 

Intense knowledge of plants and animal living patterns were needed.

 

Europe is settled late. It marked a major advance in the ability of humans to adapt to a harsh ecosystem.They startred following herds.A herd of about 1,500 reindeer would perhaps be sufficient for a family of four.

 

Another advance happened as the ice age melted the southern Europeans went with the expanding forest north.There weas a greater emphasis on gathering from the ri

cher ecosystem. The number of different types of stone tools rose from 6 to 80.Although clothes had been made from skins for hundreds of thousands of years goods, gloves, foot mittens and fine thread were used.Specialization probably accompanied this.

 

America is settled really late.Perhaps 13,000 AD†† On the plains of N America, given the lack of a large variety of plants for gathering, subsistence depended on exploiting large herds of bison.

 

Humans limited their impact on the environment by, being small in numbers and staying that way via infanticide and euthinasia.

††††††††††† Many used fire to increase the trees they wanted and make grazing land.They would kill many bison and uproot groups of plants.The most damage came from hunting the few on the toop of the food chain.

††††††††††† On hawaii within a 1,000 years of human settlement 39 species of land birds had become extinct.24 gone on New Zealand. (pg 34)In australia 86 percent of large animals were driven to extiction.In Eurasia the wooly mamoth, rhinocerou

s, giant elk, bison and ox were taken out (thoughj in Europe climate may of contributed)80% of the Animals in South America and 73% in north america wiped by the early settlers.

 

The First Great Transition chapter 4

††††††††††† THE SLOW TRANSITION TO AGRICULTURE - THE THREE CORE AREAS, SOUTH WEST ASIA, CHINA AND MESOAMERICA - SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES - EMERGENCE OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES ACROSS THE WORLD - LINK WITH CULTURE AND WARFARE

††††††††††† For about two million years only hunting and gathering was possible (excpet in the rich pacific northwest where villiages existed) then about 10,000 years ago...

 

Chapter 4 the great transition

 

10,000 years ago there were 4 million people on the earth 5 million by 5000bc and thereafter doubling every millennium to 200 million

by 200ad.This happened over 4000 years and happened in mesoameric china and SW Asia simultaneously.This was probably due to popuation pressure.Groups would limit this by spliting and foraging elsewhere, but this could only work so many times.This would of had a self enhancing feedback loop.Agriculture takes more time and just a s much knowledge, were so diverse as to be climate or disease proof, but provides more food in a smaller area.

 

Increased cultivation meant animals and humans got closer to

gether.

 

6500 bc the first permanent settlements at Jericho and Catal Hayuk.These were not modern in that they didnít seem to have much structure or differentiation of skills with only a few hundred residence each. By 4000 ad agriculture was predominant in coastal zones around the whole meditaranian. 3-2000 it was adopted in NW europe.Beyond this hunting and gathering continued. Wheat

China rice

Meso America maize, delayed development due to no sheep goats or dattle, so hunting remained big in the absense of domesticatable animals. By 2000bc higher yield maize were developed.Delayed by 2000 years, they were like mesopotamia in 2000 bc.

 

By 2000 bc all the major crops and anbimals that make up thecontemporary ag. systems o f the world had been domesticatd.†† pg 52 chart.

 

This change made ownership.Greater food supplies meant non-farmers could be supported.They made crafts.But then religious then morphed to political leaders took over the distribution functions.Administrative, religious and mil

itary elites enforced food collection and distribution.History since is the history of that surplus distribution.

 

††††††††††† The more surplus the more specialization was allowed.Rome used Egypt and north africa, europe oversees colonies.

††††††††††† Irrigation allowed more folk to settle.Growing cities started rivalries and walls and militaries.4500 bc the wheel for pottery. writing 3100bc. 4000 tablets found (85% deal in economics).In 5000bc stratified hierarchical socierties with a large degree of state control happen.

††††††††††† Egypts floods happened at the right time and so there was less irrigation and fewwer highly structured cities thanMesopotamia.

 

The first urban stratified city in China was 1750 bc with the shang.

 

Catal huyukwas built as a series of interconnected houses with common walls accessible only throough a hole in the roof and a series of blank walls facing the outside from the filliage to provide protection.7500bc jericho was surrounded by a wall almost a 1/2 mile long, 10 feet thickand over 13 fe

et high with at least one tower 33 feet in diameter and 28 feet high.

 

Egypt in 1285 had an army of 20,000.

††††††††††† By about 3000bc Mesopotamia and Egypt and 400 years later in india and a thousand in china and 2000 in meso america had hierarchical, militaristic societies ruled by religious and political elites with immense powers of control.

††††††††††† This is how society went along forever.Only a few had any change in their lives.

††††††††††† But it did provide the first examples of intenisve human alteration that so damaged the

environment they brought on their own collapse.

 

Destruction and survival chapter 5

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF AGRICULTURE - STRAIN IMPOSED BY ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENTS- SELF-INFLICTED DECLINE OF SUMER AND INDUS VALLEY SOCIETIES - DEGRADATION OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AREA - FALL OF THE MAYA - CONTRASTING STABILITY OF AGRICULTURE IN THE NILE VALLEY

 

Agriculture is and artificial environment which dirubs the natural balances and inherent stability of the original.Permanent ground cover gives way to part time crops.Soil sees wind and erodes and fertilizer is therefore needed.Irrigation water logs soil after too long and it increases the amount of salt (a thick layer of which makes agriculture impossible).Settled homes with furniture means construction materials

are needed.6000 bc soil erosion apparently caused villiages to be abandoned in Jordan.

Mesopotamia now is only desert and doesnít evoke images of granaries.

††††††††††† Sumer was the first literate society about 3000bc. But water logged, salted soil with silted irrigation crashing is shown by the detailed administrative records.Ssargon conquored during the first heavy decline By 1800 crops were one third the early period and the focus moved south.

††††††††††† The indus dried their mud bricks with wood not eh sun.

††††††††††† Clearing for agricultural land followed by soil erosion took its toll on Rome and greece.

††††††††††† In peru it was precipitated by the overuse of irrigation , the consequent f=ailure of the agricultural bgase and then clearing and erosion.

††††††††††† The Mayans had troube from the start because they were in dense lowland tropical jungle. On the hillside they would clear jungleand make fields using extensive terracing to try to contain the soil erosion..They drained swamp unerwhich thye built for cultivation.Their crucial period

happened after the waning of teotihuacan influence about 600.It greatly increased warefare between mayan cities and the elite started building bigger monuments.Population for the armies and construction folk grew steadily.But the ecological basis was not there.Tropical forst soil erodes easily once the trees are gone.This and the lack of domesticated animals to provide manures and the demand for fuel construction materials pushed fields and terraces into ever more marginal areas.††† MOrtality of females and infants due to malnutrition is increasingly found in the remains

††††††††††† The best example of sustainable balance was the egyptians.It survived until modern technology.The health of this system over time is shown by that in the 18th century the crop yields in the nile valley were about twice as high as france.Bucket and Bucket pole were their main sources of irrigation.The first irrigation was in 1840 to grow cotton for Europe.Within a few decades this produced major salinisation and waterlog

ging.So in 1950 the Aswan was builtBut it held the silt back and expensive artificial fertilizers were needed.This was high yield but drove many peasants out of business

The long struggle chapter 6

 

THE PERSISTENT PROBLEM OF FEEDING THE WORLDíS POPULATION - LIMITS OF THE AGRICULTURAL BASE IN THE HISTORY OF CHINA AND EUROPE - INFLUENCE OF CLIMATE-CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF MALNUTRITION AND FAMINE - THE DIFFUSION OF CROPS AND ANIMALS - THE EUROPEAN SOLUTION

 

††††††††††† Until about 200 years ago everyone in all parts of the world lived on the brink of starvation. 95% were peasants, directly dependent on the land and living a life with high infant mortality, low life expectancy, chronic undernourishment and an ever present threat of famine and epidemics.Transportation meant neighbors foods could not supplement yours in need.Kings and looters made it worse.

††††††††††† Due to death and late marriage and infanticide population growth was very low until 300 years ago. pg 90 population chart.Population peaked at 400 million be

fore the plague. (down to 350,000) Then up to 550 by 1600 and 600 million in 1700. the world reached one billion in 1825.The chinese and the indians have always had more folk than Europe. And we way more than africa or america.

††††††††††† The Han dynasty collapsed under the nomad presure.This pushe d the center south.The southern yangtze became the main grain area.After reunification under the Sui dynasty after 589 food had to be transfered north to the army.The grand canal was built in the 7th century for this.It was a huge burden.

††††††††††† In the 4th century the chinese learned togrow rice in water.This required huge water control wywtems.In the 11th came new varieties of rice that allowed two crops a year.They also used crop rotation and by 1200 were the largest, most literate country in the world.The expansion of rice growth made the population grow to 115 by the early 13th.The chinese were able to keep a large number on the brink of starvation.Europe could the same for a smaller population.

††††††††††† The

mongols killed 35 million Chinese in the north.

†††††††††††

††††††††††† Europes main problem was soil fertility was reduced via continual cropping and soil erosion.Nutrients in the soil required animals and they didnít have enough.Changes came slowly.In about 800 NE France replaced the 2 rotation with a 3 field rotation. The plow was around but wasnít suited to heavy soil and needed 8 oxen to pull it.

††††††††††† Fertility limiting made the Euros a little more successfull than the chinese. in 1000 the population was 36 million by 1300 it was 80 million.And many parts of Europe became severely over crowded.Northern italy and ParisSmaller land meant folks cultivated more intensely, thus reducing the animals kept and manure, cereal prices rose and the nobility and church still took 1/2 (mostly spent on conspicous consumption).Starvation set in.After the centruy of starvation and plague times were okay agoin.Population was, in 1600,back up to 90 million.And so it went up and down by 20 million for centuries.

††††††††††† The critical

factor was weather. Cold periods reduced the growing season and increased tension in society.Warm persiod increased the areas where crops could be grown.

††††††††††† Since the end of the last ice age there have been alternating periods of warmer and colder weather in Europe.The warm period starting of a warmer period sent off the viking voyages 874 iceland 986 greenland.Getting colder after 1200 the greenland settlement was destroyed after1400.Weather chart on pg 99.

††††††††††† The food was grain and the food scarce.in late 17th century france between a fifth and a quarter of the population died before their first birthday, half before they were twenty and only one in 10 lived to be sixty.The 18th had 16 famines the bestcentury of Europe was the 12th with 2 famines.People would eat their seed supply.Poor would wander the country. Bread would be mixed with pigeon and pig droppings.Cannibalism wasnít rare.One million people died in the Irish potatoe famine (due to blight and people not being able to afford pot

atoes).They exported just as Ethiopia did during their recent famine.

††††††††††† Innovations in the 1800 helped increase output.Rotation, new crops, fodder crops (legumes) started being used, better animal breeding.Rice spinach and sugar came to Europe via Muslims.The big effect of new crops came, however, after the Spanish conquored the new world.Especially perus maize and potato.China took to maize quickly.The little ice age kept it out of northern europe.Maize provides a lot of food in a small area.The tomato and peppers and some beans came fromthe new world. This gave Europe bio-diversity and vitamins.Unfortunately, this made for population growth.Rents and prices and povery increased in England.Fortunately people started leaving the farm for the city.And, England went from 5% imported food in 1840 to80% of grain 40% of meat and 72% of dairy by the end of the century. Importing of food and guano saved Europe while China had no colonies to import from.

 

 

 

 

The spread of European Settlemen

t chapter 7

INTERNAL COLONISATION AND TRANSFORMATION OF THE LANDSCAPE - THE EXPANSION OF EUROPE - IMPACT ON THE NATIVE PEOPLES AND CULTURES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

†††††††††††

This expansion goes in two phases -internal and external.Both stem from the same pressures.This shaped the modern world (and the indigenous peoples and thier societies worlds).

 

The great mideival internal colonization came to a halt around 1300.The cold and population decline started.In the 15th century the russians started to recover from the Mongol invasions and did an expansion east.

††††††††††† The techinique for this process was clearing forests and draining marshes.Through the 16 hundreds dutch used windmills to pump the water table low. betweeen 1615 and 1640 they reclaim 400,000 acres.Still Europe was small and backwards.

††††††††††† When it did expand it was aided in that it found no strong states.In india and china they only won trading posts.1500 to 1700 was largely Spanish and Portuguese expansion.The second phase went from 1750 to 1850

and saw the British defeat the French for the indian sub-continent, growing trade between Europoe and China and the Settlement of Australia and New Zealand.In the last phase after 1850, attension was concentrated on carving up africa and in 1919 the ottoman fell and britain and france established control over the near east. The last war was the Italians over the Ethiopians in 1935. From 1550 to1737 russia expanded to Alsaska. In 1800 only few americans had settled abroad.5 million in north America, 50

0,000 in south america.When population and food problems hit europe (and better transportation) between 1820 and1930 50 million left europe.

††††††††††† The long standing civilizations of china, india and japan withstood the best.All others collapsed.Within 40 years the population on Columbusí island went from 1 million to a few hundred. atzec went from 25 million to 6 million by 1550 to 1 million by 1600.Many survivors were enslaved, though that was illegal to do to natives after 1842. 130-134 tell of what happened to native americans.

††††††††††† Only 1 million natives in North America he says!

††††††††††† In Australia warfare and cannibalism were widespread

Ways of thought chapter 8

 

INFLUENCE OF CLASSICAL, JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN THOUGHT ON THE EUROPEAN VIEW OF THE WORLD - THE RELATIOSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS AND THE NATURAL WORLD - THE IDEA OF PROGRESS - ALTERNATIVE TRADITIONS - IMPACT OF CLASSICAL ECONOMICS AND MARXIST THEORY - THE PURSUIT OF ECONOMIC GROWTH