In the United States and all around the world you can see evidence of previous cultures that we just don’t understand. In the southwest US there are cliff dwellings that were abandoned all at once. We know when it happened but we don’t know why. Large monuments, like on Easter Island were deliberately crafted and strategically placed and we can’t know why. There are arguments that say that civilizations collapse for many different reasons, but one option is common: human-induced exhaustion of the land. Humans demand food and water. They demand community and a comfortable living. When their demands exceed the land’s ability to give they must move on and have in the past, as is evidenced by the many prehistoric monuments scattered across the globe.
Current populations have defied this model. Urban centers, which do not produce their own food or water but instead have it shipped from other locations, have disrupted this process. As they continue to grow (and quickly, even China is reaching a point where there are more people in urban city centers than rural areas) and stress the land we must look to the future of these areas. Since nothing we practice is sustainable and only the buildings we construct are permanent (to a point) we must look to the past to see our future. Will we exhaust all our resources and need to desert our cities? Where will all these people go?
In my studies I will look at the past civilizations in 6 distinct areas, one per (occupied) continent. In these areas, I will in turn study present human practices with regards to water conservation and agricultural procurement. No area of the world is the same but I will try to cross reference different sustainable practices from different areas so that in the end you will find a guide for the future. I want to answer the questions that we will need answered in the future if the urban centers do collapse. How will we survive in hostile places?
As I study international politics, environmental factors and languages at the University of Arizona I have a passion for learning about the entire globe, not just my own corner of the world. I look forward to hearing your respectful opinions and adding information to this forum.