Sunday, August 05, 2007

For years the mystery of the Anasazi Indians has fascinated me. At last, I was able to visit their home at Mesa Verde. They flourished there for around 700 years and about 1300 AD they vanished from Mesa Verde or left very quickly. They were even in the middle of building pueblos and simply picked up and left the buildings unfinished.
Their history makes you think about the fate of human societies. This is the subject of an interesting book: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. What happened to the Anasazi? The recent fires that have devastated the forest in Mesa Verde makes you wonder if this was a factor. The Park Ranger told me that the fires have been occurring for centuries and it takes about 60-70 years for a complete regrowth. Lightening starts most of the fires. In our times a careless camper or a cigarette can start the inferno, but lightening is usually the offending agent because mother nature is ready to ignite the place and purify the region. Sort of like washing dishes for nature.
It was probably not fire but a great drought that led the Anasazi to seek water and more fertile fields in another place. Whenever a civilization uses up its resources or is encountered with something like a severe drought, it moves on. Look at the dust bowl in America in recent history. This caused the farmers of Oklahoma to evacuate the state. The Okies are the modern Anasazi.
History is replete with stories of vanishing civilizations by things like; war, disease, climate and depletion of resources. Civilizations who use better technology triumph over those who do not. Users of metal tools overwhelmed those who used stone implements. Totally peaceful societies have been consumed by those who make war. History has proven it doesn’t pay to be a pacifist if you wish to live. The nature of homo sapiens is to kill everything which doesn’t resist. This is the reason for the extinction of much animal life. Look at the Bison, we slaughtered them for sport and in the process destroyed a main resource for the Indians, which in turn destroyed the Indian.
Anyway the Anasazi are gone but it makes me ponder our fate as I sit here on my porch in Salado. Oil is not a finite resource. We are fighting for it now, but it is eventually going to be be depleted. Our climate is changing so that we are probably doomed to be a desert planet even if Al Gore is able to get us all to turn off the electricity and stop using gas immediately. To turn everything off immediately would devastate our economy even more quickly.
With all this doom and gloom, what are we to do?
We need to develop another energy source immediately. Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats have a Scarlett O’Hara mind set on this subject. They will just “think about that tomorrow.” Tomorrow may be too late.


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