Category Archives: Environmental History

Through the ages: Is soil conservation a new problem?

Soil erosion is one of the biggest land degradation issues plaguing the current world. I’ve touched on this topic in the land degradation series. However, a recap is warranted:

  • Today, we are losing 30-40% of the world’s arable soil due to erosion every year, according to FOA.
  • That is equivalent to 3 football (soccer) fields worth of topsoil every minute.
  • At this rate, we will be able to practice agriculture only for 60 more years, according to a Scientific American article.

You would think that this has been a problem only since we have started changing age-old agricultural practices by using chemicals and mass producing grains to feed the growing population. However, that is not true…

Civilizations of the past have all faced the problems of soil erosion and have actually fallen because of this. That’s right: civilizations have fallen because of soil erosion. Not war, not disease but lack of soil.

Continue reading Through the ages: Is soil conservation a new problem?

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Animal protection through the ages

Animal rights and protection is a major force in today’s world. From preventing abuse of animals to conserving wildlife in forests, we are doing everything within our grasp to ensure we protect and preserve the huge variety of animal life around us.

While buzz phrases like “conservation biology”, “animal rights”, and “endangered species” are relatively novel to the world (beginning only in the 1970’s), animal protection has been present in some form or the other throughout history. In this post, I’m going to take you through the Middle Ages to look at how animal protection emerged and evolved over time… Continue reading Animal protection through the ages

Environment and religion

The environment has been a part of human observation and manipulation since humans evolved. Naturally, once human beings developed the concepts of language, speech and complex thinking, the importance of the environment and nature would have been a big topic for them. Nature was thought to be a form of God, each resource it provided us was given a manifestation and was intensely revered.

When organized religion developed, this relationship between environment and its worship took a more concrete form. Most places in the East, Continue reading Environment and religion

Environmental History: Rise of the vegetarians

Vegetarianism has been closely linked to animal conservation for millenia. Today, it could prove vital if we are to control land degradation and (possibly) even climate change.

The MUSE Within

vegetarian diet and climate change के लिए चित्र परिणाम

For a while now, scientists have been professing a switch to a vegetarian diet to counter the impacts of climate change. On March 26, 2016, there was an article on TIME magazine as well, about this. According to that article, livestock contributes more than 14% of greenhouse emission, and this figure could grow to 50% by 2050, with growing population and the need for more food.

This call for a vegan diet, however, is not recent at all.

The earliest call to switch to a vegan diet can be dated back to 740 B.C, when Isaiah, a Hebrew prophet, called for a switch to diet to prevent animal sacrifice. Similarly, Buddhism and Jainism grew in India between 000-500 B.C, and both faiths proposed a vegan diet to prevent cruelty against animals. Jainism went so far as to state that it is not enough to live and let live, we have…

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Humans and the Environment: Prehistoric times

The MUSE Within

Human beings, like every other living organism, has a relationship with its surrounding environment. This relationship began the moment our species evolved and has been a dynamic relationship ever since. We have interacted with the environment in several ways spread over centuries, and it is important to understand this relationship before we understand the situation today (isn’t that why we study history anyway?).

There is an established field of science called environmental history that deals with the study of this relationship. It is a study focused on (1) how nature has naturally changed since humans evolved (2) how humans have interacted with nature and (3) how nature, in turn, has interacted with us. In fact, the study of environmental history up until the recent past has only focused on the last 100-1000 years. This is but minuscule in our total 2 million years on Earth. In light of this, a…

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