The Problem Of Climate Change

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In recent decades, the contentious issues surrounding climate change and the corresponding effects it likely exerts upon contemporary civilization has developed to become one of the most pressing areas of concern afflicting humanity (Armstrong, 1). Currently, climate change has started to demonstrate its potentially calamitous consequences upon human subsistence practices, and has even begun to alter the very environments that entire societies reside in, theoretically endangering them in both instances (Armstrong, 1). Though the hindrances inherent in climate change are potentially devastating to the preservation of modern society, the problem of climate change itself is not one that is exclusive to the contemporary era. Rather, the harmful externalities posed by climate change are problems that have plagued countless human societies and have oftentimes resulted in the breakdown of once prosperous civilizations. The possibility of such a catastrophic occurrence can most notably be found in the collapse of the ancient Mayan society of the Yucatan peninsula that encompassed southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize (Armstrong, 2). Classical Mayan society was unable to endure primarily because of the consequences disseminated by climate change, and the role of such effects in the perpetuation of additional societal complications. Before any examination is conducted regarding the factors that contributed to the collapse of the classical Mayan society, especially those concerning climate change among other possible aspects, a contextualized understanding of the Mayan civilization itself must be established first. The Mayan civilization emerged during the first millennium BCE and endured until the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the ... ... middle of paper ... ...thereby making it impossible for the Mayan civilization to sustain its population levels with adequate sums of food (Armstrong, 4). Despite paleoclimatic research that indicates climate change’s culpability in the fall of Classic Mayan society, many historians attempt to attribute the decline of the Maya to societal complexities, and negate the role of climate change in shaping the ultimate destiny of the Mayans (Armstrong, 3). Though these societal afflictions played a part in the decline of the Maya, their role came into play due to the difficulties accompanying climate change; as demonstrated in both the north and south (Wylie, 5). Thus, Classical Mayan civilization was unable to endure because of the penalties disseminated by climate change, and the role of such uncontrollable side-effects in the continuance of other societal difficulties at the time of collapse.

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