J. Diamond's Collapse: Harappa

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J. Diamond’s Collapse: Harappa

Throughout the course of history, major complex civilizations have always found themselves in a state of decline, and possibly even collapse. In “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” Jared Diamond lays out the questions and issues and issues at the foundation of his theory on the collapse of societies. Diamond uses five factors that could contribute to the collapse of a society: damage that people in inadvertently inflict on the environment, climate-change, hostile neighbors, decreased support by friendly neighbors, and finally the ubiquitous question of the society’s responses to its problems, whether those problems are environmental or not.

The first factor is environmental damage. The first eight categories that describe how past societies damaged their environments are deforestation, soil problems, water management problems, over hunting, over fishing, effects of introduced species, human population growth and increased percapita impact of people. Later, Diamond adds four more environmental problems to the original eight: human-caused climate change, build up of toxic chemicals in the environment, energy shortages, and full human utilization of the Earth’s photosynthetic energy. Sometime after 1900 B.C.E., Harappan Society entered a period of decline. Not all five factors, or eight categories necessarily apply to the collapse of the Harappan Society. Although there are specific handicaps that prevent scholars, who study the Harappan Society, follow their development, one problem that I’m sure probably didn’t factor into their decline was water management problem-- simply because they were the first society to establish, and effectively use, sewage systems. One cause was ecological degradation: Harrapans deforested the Indus valley in order to clear land for cultivation and to obtain firewood.

The major factor in the collapse of the Harappa was deforestation and habitat destruction....
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