Ecocide And Globalization

Cited in Worldwatch, Subsidies for Sacred Cows, World Watch Magazine 9 (1) (January February) (1996) pp. 8-9. 2. David Goldblatt, Social Theory and the Environment (Boulder, CO Westview Press, 1996), p. 199. 3. Political scientist Manfred Steger summarizes the five central ideological claims of globalism as follows (1) globalization is about the liberalization and global integration of markets (2) globalization is inevitable and irreversible (3) nobody is in charge of globalization (4)...

The Greeks Mediterranean 770 bce to 30 bce

The ancient Mediterranean is a paradigm of the abuse of natural resources in pre-modern Europe. Ecological mismanagement, combined with endemic warfare, military escapades, and conquest, was responsible for the deterioration of agriculture around the Mediterranean basin in the world of antiquity.71 During the second half of the Holocene, there evolved a diverse range of Mediterranean cultures based on agriculture or pastoralism. Their hierarchical form of social relations changed relations of...

The Rise Of Commercial Whaling

Commercial whaling is one of the worst examples of wildlife over-exploitation in the early modern history of capitalism, comparable to the near-extermination of the American bison and the assault on fur species. Several species of whale have gone entirely extinct because of whaling, and other species have been reduced to herds too rare to be worth hunting.65 The whale species that are commercially hunted are of two major types. First, there are the toothed whales, represented mainly by the...

The Rise Of Modern Humans

The meteoric ascent of early humans a quarter of a million years ago in East Africa had little ecological impact. Still, early Homo sapiens did look rather different from earlier Homo erectus. Climatologically, the era was characterized by shifting ice age conditions. The precise origin of Homo sapiens is not yet fully resolved. Two different models have been proposed. According to the first, called the multiregional hypothesis, the distribution of anatomical traits in modern human populations...

The Chaco Anasazi Northwestern New Mexico 700 ce to 1300 ce

The ancient Anasazi civilization in the American southwest was a farming society that created one of the grandest regional and social political systems in prehistoric North America. Anasazi is a Navajo name that is usually, and romantically, translated as the ancient ones, also ancient strangers. A better translation, according to anthropologist team David Stuart and Susan Moczygemba-McKinsey, would be ancestors of our enemies, a frank description of the social relationships that once prevailed...

Chapter Outline

The five chapters of this book explore the critical milestones and turning points in human social evolution and associated changes of society-nature relations that led to the loss of biodiversity and progressive ecocide. The beginning of the book introduces the reader to the problem and the general historical and sociological approach taken to explain the etiology of ecocide and mass extinction of species. Chapter 1, titled The Human Odyssey From Biological to Cultural Evolution, explores the...

From Tree Shrews To Primates

Primates have their earliest evolutionary ancestry in tree-shrew-sized proto-mammals that evolved in the shadow of dinosaurs about 200 million years ago. Only after their disappearance 65 million years ago did our (then barely larger than rat sized) mammalian ancestors slowly begin to evolve into primates. In the early part of their evolutionary history, most primates looked much like the modern-day tarsiers or lemurs. About 40 million years ago, however, new primate families arose the monkeys....

Glossary

NB Glossaries are not neutral and always involve a point of view. Agency The ability of people to change the institutions in which they live. People make their own history however, they do not make it just as they please, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past. Agrodiversity Agrodiversity, or agricultural biodiversity, refers to the part of genetic resources that feeds and nurtures people - whether derived from plants, animals, fish, or forests. We...

The Human Odyssey From Biological To Cultural Evolution

Elis e Reclus, L'Homme et la terre, 6 vols (Paris Paris Librairie Universelle, 1905), vol. 1, p. i. 2. Julian Huxley, Evolution in Action (New York Mentor Books, 1953). 3. The origins of life, probably some 4 billion years ago, involved a series of evolutionary processes ranging from prebiotic organic synthesis of inorganic chemicals (H2O N2 CO2 NH3 CH4 ) to simple organic compounds (via energy from ultraviolet radiation and light) to simple organic compounds (via concentration and...

The Pivotal Role Of Language

Language is central to our historical understanding of the cultural, social, and ecological developments of the past 50,000 years. The capacity for speech, progressively enhanced only relatively recently, produced a huge change in the behavior of our species. With language, it took only a few seconds to communicate a big game hunter's message Turn sharp right at the fourth tree and drive the male antelope, moa, or mastodon toward the reddish boulder, where I'll hide to spear it. Without...

Info

Predatory Globalization A Critique. Malden, MA Polity Press, 1999. Falk, Thomas H. Elias Canetti. Edited by David O'Connell Georgia State University, Twaynes World Author Series German Literature. New York Twayne Publishers, 1993. Fang, Jin-qi. Deforestation of the Loess Plateau in Pre-Industrial Time Destruction of the Chinese Cradle, Working Paper. Honolulu East-West Center Program of the Environment, 1994. -and Zhiren Xie. Deforestation in Preindustrial China The Loess...

The Easter Islanders Rapa Nui 700 ce to 1700 ce

Perhaps one of the most poignant examples of negative human impact on the environment and one of the most spectacular instances of social-ecological collapse in pre-modern times occurred between 700 ce and 1800 ce on Easter Island. Known by its original Polynesian inhabitants as Rapa Nui, the island is located in the South Pacific over 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile. Rapa Nui is among the most intensely studied places in the world. Archaeologists and natural scientists have speculated long...

The Modern Assault On Nature The Making Of Ecocide

So many goodly cities ransacked and razed so many nations destroyed and made desolate so infinite millions of harmless people of all sexes, states and ages, massacred, ravaged and put to the sword and the richest, the fairest and the best parts of the world topsiturvied, ruined and defaced for the traffic of Pearls and Pepper. (Montaigne, 1533-1592)1 The war on other species reflected the dominance of commercial ends. The ecological effects of the mercantilist age of capitalism, however, were...

The Planet As Sacrifice Zone

Progress, under whose feet the grass mourns and the forest turns into paper from which newspaper plants grow, has subordinated the purpose of life to the means of subsistence and turned us into the nuts and bolts for our tools. (Karl Kraus, In These Great Times)1 We have created an industrial monster, which, being easily aroused by the smell of money, continues at will to devour our rapidly vanishing virgin landscapes, excreting progress in the process. (Peter Marks, A Vision of Environment Is...

Ecology And Modern Warfare

With the Industrial Revolution, the causal connection between the modern war economy - notably the industrial arms race, culminating in the twentieth century - and progressive global ecocide becomes obvious. The industrialization of warfare emerged as one of the most ecologically and socially damaging institutional features of modernity, described by the great Spanish painter Francisco Goya as the most evil and dangerous of human traditions.10 From the outset, mechanized warfare was put in the...

The Planet As National Sacrifice Zone

No epoch in human history has demonstrated as blatantly and grotesquely the fundamental incompatibility of warfare and nature as the hot and cold national wars of the late modern era. The devastating, often irreparable, effects of warfare on global ecosystems, as the sections above have chronicled, clearly illustrate the incompatibility of modern industrial warfare and nature. Ecological systems are fragile. In order to continue to support subsystems of living things, ecosystems must maintain a...

Epilogue Living In The Age Of Ecocide

The seasonal hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica reached record proportions in September 1998, according to a report by the World Meteorological Association (WMO). Covering an area of 9.75 million square miles, or about 2.5 times the area of Europe, 1998's hole surpassed the previous record - set in 1993 - by about 3 million square kilometers. The rift was also the deepest and fastest-growing ever, said WMO expert Rumen Bojikov. It involved the...

The Rise Of Scientific And Technological Thinking

Underpinning the evolving capitalist system one finds scientific and technological assumptions about the world that encourage the exploitation of nature. The Enlightenment period saw nature as a dead and mechanical world, a view that permits people to think of ecosystems and their inhabitants as mere resources for human use. Scientists like Francis Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton and philosophers like Ren Descartes, John Locke, and David Hume supported a scientific method according to which living...

Living In The Age Of Ecocide

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, it has become apparent that, for the first time since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, changes of enormous ecological significance are occurring on our planet. These changes are the result of the actions of a single species of animal, Homo sapiens sapiens. The ozone layer in the stratosphere, which has protected terrestrial life for hundreds of millions of years from the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, is beginning to...

The Mayas Mesoamerica 200 ce to 900 ce

Ever since the discovery of Mayan ruins in the Honduran jungle during the mid-1800s, the remnants of this majestic civilization have lured archaeologists, anthropologists, and linguists from around the world. By 900 bce the Mayan civilization had spread across the region we now know as Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the northern half of Guatemala. Between 250 ce and 900 ce, Mayan civilization reached its zenith, producing great intellectual achievements in the arts, mathematics, and...

Ecocide And Modern Warfare

As mentioned in previous chapters, the earliest Neolithic settled communities defended their territory against other human groups. The establishment of sedentary agricultural societies undoubtedly increased the potential for warfare by establishing exclusive ownership of land and resources. Early military conflicts have been documented to have had a variety of effects on ecosystems and biodiversity. For example, when a New Guinea highland tribe defeats another in a war, it does not immediately...

The Romans Mediterranean 500 bce to 500 ce

The Romans were even less environmentally aware than the Greeks and showed scant concern for the ecological consequences of their activities. Like the Christian civilization that succeeded them, the Romans evinced a possessive view of our planet it was the property of Homo, to be exploited for human purposes.89 At the height of its power the Roman Empire was vast, stretching from the deserts of Africa to the borders of northern England. Over a quarter of the world's population lived under the...

The Industrial Revolution

The full impact of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-nineteenth century accelerated the pace of global ecological destruction. The Industrial Revolution represents a milestone in the history of ecocide and environmental degradation. Machines, not land, became the central means of production. Sociologically, the process involved the proletarianization of large segments of the population, who lost their direct control over the means of life and had no other means of livelihood but to sell...

The Mesopotamians Southwest Asia 3700 bce to 1600 bce

The first known case of ecological collapse of a civilization occurred during the Bronze Age, several thousand years ago, in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq and part of Syria. This Mesopotamian culture, known as the Sumerian civilization (3500-1600 bce), was one of the first human societies to have produced what some archaeologists refer to as big tradition.47 Mesopotamian civilizations utterly depended on irrigation from the two great rivers. With an assured...

Bibliography

Putting a Value on Nature's 'Free' Services, World Watch 11(1) (January February) (1998), pp. 10-19. Achbar, Mark and Peter Wintonick, eds. Manufacturing of Consent Noam Chomsky and the Media. Edited by Adam Symansky, Necessary Illusions, a Zeitgeist Film Release. Montreal National Filmboard of Canada, 1993. Adorno, Theodor and Max Horkheimer. Dialektik Der Aufkl rung Philosophische Fragmente. English Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cummings. New York Herder &...

The Planet As Demographic Sacrifice Zone

Scholars of ecocide have identified at least a half-dozen major underlying causes for current declines in species and devastation of natural ecosystems. Most of them agree that population growth - which includes both global and local natural increase and migration - is one of these primary causes of ecocide.68 In short, gaining people means losing species. This truism has never been more consequential than in the modern era. Since farming economies first came into existence 480 generations ago,...

Ecocide And The Global Treadmill Of Production

The concept of the global treadmill of production is a term coined by Galbraith to demonstrate how our late modern materialist and consumer-oriented society operates.43 The global treadmill system, largely responsible for the accelerated pace of ecocide, constitutes a kind of giant squirrel cage.44 Everyone is part of this gigantic treadmill and is unable or unwilling to get off. Investors and managers are driven by the need to accumulate wealth and to expand the scale of their operations in...

The Megafauna Extinction

We have seen above that from approximately 100,000 to 50,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans were confined to Africa, plus the warmer areas of Europe and Asia. After that, our species underwent a massive geographical expansion that took us to Australia and New Guinea around 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, then to Siberia and most of North and South America, and finally to most of the world's oceanic islands only around 2000 bce.41 We also underwent a massive expansion in numbers, from perhaps...

Ecological Blunders Of Antiquity

Human history is replete with accounts of the early ecocidal activities of great empires such as Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, ancient China, and Maya, all of which destroyed their forests and the fertility of their topsoil, and killed off much of the original fauna through a combination of their linear thinking and their insatiable drives for material wealth.32 The most flourishing lands of antiquity were sites of civilizations that remained powerful and wealthy for great periods of time,...

Poverty And Ecocide

Social inequalities generated by neo-liberal globalization have kept large segments of the population in the global South in poverty. In 1990, 2 billion people subsisted on less than US 2 a day.18 Indeed, impoverishment is one of the main contributors to ecocide and environmental degradation in the global South. Without jobs and without productive land, poor people are forced on to marginal lands in search of subsistence food production and firewood, or they move to the cities. Those who stay...

Early Modern Fur Trade

Fur trade-based predation upon species already had a long and remunerative history in Europe and Asia at the time that the first European fur traders began their activities on the North American continent. Scandinavia had provided ancient Rome with furs, along with amber, sea ivory, and slaves, receiving gold, silver, and other treasures in return.39 In the late ninth century CE, seigniorial traders such as Ottar, from the Norwegian fjords near modern Tromsoe, took marten, reindeer, bear, and...

Problematic Societynature Relations Before The Modern

Cited in Jeremy Swift, The Other Eden A New Approach to Man, Nature and Society London J.M. Dent amp Sons, 1974 p. 13. NB Gilgamesh was a historical figure who ruled the city-state of Uruk sometime between 2 700 and 2500 bce he was remembered as a great warrior as well as the builder of Uruk's massive walls and temple. His exploits so impressed his contemporaries that he became the focal point of a series of oral sagas that recounted his legendary heroic deeds. Around 2000 bce or shortly...