Today's Lesson in Societal Collapse, Courtesy of the Mayans
The same issues that experts worry about for our world today -- climate change combined with environmental mismanagement -- helped end Mayan civilization, according to a recently-released article.
Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
The 9th-century collapse of the Lowland Maya civilization in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula had much to do with both climate change and human-made environmental stressors, say the co-authors of an article published yesterday in the online early edition of Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences. Prior to the collapse, the Mayans had lived in harmony with the environment for over 2000 years, building and maintaining production and water networks that carried them through at least two dry periods. However, as time went on, large-scale deforestation exacerbated and intensified the droughts. With a shift in trade routes that drastically affected the local economy, "the decision was made to vacate the central lowlands rather than maintain the investment."
What's the Big Idea?
Social scientists B.L. Turner and Jeremy A. Sabloff write: "The Maya case lends insights for the use of paleo- and historical analogs to inform contemporary global environment change and sustainability...Complex system interactions generated the collapse and depopulation of the [Central Maya Lowlands] and fostered its long-term abandonment. This lesson -- increasingly voiced in the literature -- should be heeded in the use of analogs for sustainability science."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.