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The Rise of Agriculture Essay

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In this unit’s text, we learned about modernization of society and how agriculture permitted nomadic hunt-and-gather groups to become stabilized and centralized in one location. The text and supporting video clips introduced both positive and negative anthropological effects of the rise of agriculture. Three positive outcomes include stabilization, improved nutrition, and food surplus. For each of these positive instances, there is an alternate and negative impact as well: habitat destruction, feast and famine cycles, and health concerns. This essay will briefly expound on each positive outcome and its counterpart, and will relate the sustainable agrarian achievements of the people of the Gamo Highlands to these effects.

The first positive consequence of agriculture is the stabilization it has allowed humanity. For many years, societies were based around the game its members hunted for food. For example, Native Americans once relied upon buffalo as a main source of meat. As buffalo do not stay in one location, the Native American people were forced to follow the buffalo, migrating with them wherever the beasts went, in order to maintain this valuable food source. Upon the introduction of agriculture, on the other hand, people were able and required to stay in one place in order to tend the crops. This encouraged the formation of settlements and reduction of nomadic lifestyles, which in turn triggered healthier and more consistent nutrition.

While hunt-and-gather societies generally had a constant source of food from the game and nuts, seeds, and berries they consumed, these things still did not provide adequate nutrition for them. Members of these societies lacked nutrients found in crops unavailable to them...


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...crops to find the most productive varieties, the naturally-occurring diversity provides more protection against insect and climate harm, as each crop will adapt to the environment it is in. If people take only what is needed from the environment, not more, this will ensure the retention of the world and its countless societal groups further into the future than relying only on modern technology, which in fact is less productive and more harmful. What the people of the Gamo Highland region are teaching the rest of the world is that there is an important connection between the self and the environment, and in order for the landscape to be the most productive and helpful to the people in it, this relationship must be closely maintained. This will help alleviate the negative aspects of agriculture, enhance the positive outcomes, and overall improve the standard of life.


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