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The crash of glass and children's screams.

As people fled from the increasingly barren and devastated Fertile Crescent, Bronze Age settlements began growing on the Mediterranean’s east end. During the Babylonian reign of , wood was extremely scarce and his agents were charged with finding more wood. Under Hammurabi, illegal woodcutting was a . The search for wood extended past deforested Lebanon to the Mediterranean’s periphery, and Crete’s inhabitants began to trade wood for luxury items with Near East civilizations. The nearly extinct Near East cedar was reserved for palaces and temples in Mesopotamia, but on Crete, cedar was so abundant that it was used for tool handles and had other mundane purposes. Trade with the Near East quickly boosted Crete from a forested hinterland, isolated in the eastern Mediterranean, into a powerful state, at least while its forests lasted. In early , wood was used lavishly. The Minoan success influenced the nearby Peloponnesian peninsula, and Mycenaean civilization began about 1600 BCE. Minoans developed the still-undeciphered script. Mycenaean Greeks developed , which has been largely decoded and ; it is likely that Linear A also was only accounting. About 1700 BCE, the Minoan palaces were destroyed, probably by an earthquake. The palaces were rebuilt on a grand scale, and settlements expanded in the Minoan golden age, which lasted about three centuries. Then a swift decline collapsed the Minoan civilization by 1200 BCE. Mycenaeans then annexed the island.

The beginning of the end of industrial civilization.

Just as became a strategy for extinction for the world’s megafauna when a , forests are the that Earth has ever seen. Trees are Earth’s “megaflora,” and they suffered the same fate as megafauna wherever civilization appeared. When humans became sedentary, they razed local forests to gain building materials and fuel, and the freshly deforested land worked wonderfully for raising crops, at least until the soils were ruined from nutrient depletion, erosion, salination, and other insults. Domesticated cattle pulled the first plows, which . When humans , beginning about 8 kya, deforestation was easier, so a dynamic arose in the Fertile Crescent in which bronze axes easily deforested the land. The exposed soil was then worked with draft animals pulling bronze plows, and this increased crop yields but also increased erosion. That complex of deforestation, crops, draft animals, and smelted metals yielded great short-term benefits but was far from sustainable, as it devastated the ecosystems and soils and also impacted the hydrological cycle, which gradually turned forests into deserts. Earth was also deforested by the enormously energy-intensive Bronze Age smelting of metal. During the Mediterranean region's Bronze Age, the standard unit of copper production was the (because it was worth about one ox), which weighed between 20 and 30 kilograms. It took six tons of charcoal to smelt one ingot, which required 120 pine trees, or 1.6 hectares (four acres) of trees. Kilns for making pottery also required vast amounts of wood. Wood met many energy needs of early Old World civilizations, which were all voracious consumers of wood.

Iraq Cradle Of Civilization Free Essays - StudyMode

In this sense the townsof these areas were secondary, but they should not be regarded as simple derivatives ofSumer or the Indus civilization.

By the late 1700s, another profession appeared: a new variety of court historian known today as the classical economist. From civilization’s earliest days, has been the primary method by which elites arose. Essentially, it became a place to skim energy flows, which has been a feature of life . When a brown bear wades into a stream to catch migrating salmon, as shown below, (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Several interacting trends created the phenomenon called the Industrial Revolution, but as with the previous Epochal Events, it all rode atop the energy practices. Cognitive and social changes were predicated on the economic situation, which was always based on the level of energy consumption. Without that foundation of increased energy generation, the rest . Since the beginnings of civilization, the level of (the produced energy not devoted to agriculture), including feeding its workforce, has always been the primary determinant of how a civilization could develop and whether it survived.

Mesopotamia: The cradle of civilization? essays

The two great civilizations of Egypt and the Indus Valley will be dealt with first,and later with the smaller centers of urban life in western Asia.

Artists have been depicting Carboniferous swamps for more than a century, and the . That represents a key Carboniferous issue and perhaps why the period ended. That , and others like it, appeared in the fossil record about 300 mya, when oxygen levels were Earth’s highest ever, at somewhere between 25% and 35%. The almost universally accepted reason for that high oxygen level is that for the entire Carboniferous Period removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in vast amounts. Today, the estimate is that carbon dioxide fell from about 1,500 PPM at the beginning of the Carboniferous to 350 PPM by the end, which is lower than today’s value. That tandem effect of sequestering carbon and freeing oxygen not only may have led to huge arthropods and amphibians, but also intensified . The idea that high oxygen levels led to those giants was first proposed more than a century ago and dismissed, but has recently come back into favor. Flying insects have the highest metabolisms of all animals, but they do not have diaphragmatic lungs as mammals have, or air sac lungs as birds have, and although they may have some way of actively breathing by contracting their tracheas, it is not the bellows action of vertebrate lungs. The for early insect gigantism is that high oxygen, as well as a denser atmosphere (the nitrogen mass would not have fallen, so increased oxygen would have added to the atmosphere’s mass), would have enabled such leviathans to fly, and the other is that flying insects got a head start in the arms race and could grow large until predators that could catch them evolved. The late Permian had an even larger dragonfly, when oxygen levels had crashed back down. The evolution of flight is another area of great controversy, and insects accomplished it long before vertebrates did. The general idea is that flight structures evolved from those used for other purposes. For insects, wings appear to have evolved from aquatic “oars,” and gills became lungs. Reptiles did not develop flight until the Triassic, and .

One of Peter Ward’s recent hypotheses is that animals that adapted to the changing conditions, particularly when oxygen levels crashed, survived the catastrophes to dominate the post-catastrophic environment. In the late Permian, several therapsid lines developed , which may have been used for respiratory water retention in a world where oxygen levels were crashing. This is a controversial issue, and related to the controversy over when reptiles developed . The therapsid ancestors of mammals, , first appeared about 260 mya, and had many .

There are no close similarities of culture of any kind; indeed it is hard toemphasize sufficiently the  betweenthese civilizations.
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Mesopotamia: The cradle of civilization

The Tethys Ocean finally evaporated, literally, at the Miocene’s end, and it was a spectacular exit. As part of the collision of Africa and Europe, Morocco and Spain smashed together and separated the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea. Then the entire Mediterranean dried out, as there was not enough regional precipitation to replenish the evaporation. Then the crashing Atlantic waves eroded through the rock and the Atlantic again filled the Mediterranean Sea in floods that may have been Earth history's most spectacular. The grinding continents then made another rock dam, the Atlantic was cut off again, and the Mediterranean once again dried up. That pattern happened more than 40 times between about 5.8 and 5.2 mya. Each drying episode, after the rock dam again separated the Atlantic from the Mediterranean, took about a thousand years and left about 70 meters of salt on the floor of the then Mediterranean Desert. The repeated episodes created 2,000-to-3,000-meter-thick sediments of , which is formed from evaporating oceans, as trapped as the Mediterranean was. Creating so much gypsum partially desalinated Earth’s oceans (a 6% lowering), raised their freezing point, and may have contributed to the growth of Antarctica’s ice sheets. Also, those drying episodes initiated great droughts in Africa and may well have spurred the evolutionary events that led to humans.


Few people on Earth today have much understanding of the relationship between . Most people think that money runs the world, when it is only an accounting fiction. Money by itself is meaningless, and financial measures of economic activity can be highly misleading. I noted long ago that scientists had little respect for . that obscured the role of energy while exalting money. What a coincidence. Understanding this essay's first half will help with comprehending the last half, and the connections between energy, ecosystems, and economics should become clear.


By 20-17 mya, apes became common in East Africa, , up to 90 kilograms, and some . Nearly all apes eventually abandoned tropical canopies, and although monkeys were scarce in the Miocene, they stayed and dominate them today. The number of monkey species increased and ape species have decreased rather steadily over the past 20 million years. With that late-Oligocene warming that continued into the , tropical forests began expanding again. When Africa and Arabia finally crashed into Eurasia and , apes escaped Africa beginning about 16.5 mya. They had thickly enameled teeth suited to the non-fruit foods available outside rainforests. Their migrations resulted in new homes that spanned Eurasia, from Europe to Siberia to China to Southeast Asia. It was a spectacular that tallied more than 20 discovered ape species so far, and has been called the Golden Age of Apes. That is how gibbons and orangutans arrived in Asia. About 14 mya in Africa, the , and about 12.5 mya the . By that time, and orangutans continued down their evolutionary path, isolated from their African cousins. One . A descendant from the , at three meters tall and more than 500 kilograms. Below is a comparison of that primate to humans. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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