Ecological crises in the history of the mankind

For centuries the relations between the man and the surrounding world were based on the principal of extracting all possible material benefits out of the nature. It is typical for the man race to use the available resources in maximal possible volumes without taking the arising contradictions in to account. This is our greatest trouble.

It is most unfortunate that the recognizing of the offence is coming in the moment when the society meets another problem questioning its existence – the ecological crisis.

According to the scope of the occurred changes there are two kinds of the ecological crisis – the global crisis and the local crisis.

The local crises usually happen more often and, as a rule, they threaten the separate species or populations. However the rising number of such situations witnesses the coming global ecological crisis able to cover the whole planet.

Ecological crises – how many of them actually were?

Regarding the man race experience of encountering the global forms of the ecological crisis, we can find the events having such deep roots in the history that some of them come out in the shape of a mystery or theory.

The results of the other ecological crises that happened not so long ago we can see nowadays.

Comparing some facts we can surely declare that the existence of the mankind was accompanied with inevitable aggravation of ecological situation reaching from time to time the critical scope

Preanthropogenic crisis

Probably this is the only crisis in the history of mankind that was caused not by the men not taking in to consideration the following resources depletion the man’s activities are indirectly relevant to.

According to the theory of Reymers N.N, the honored soviet zoologist, the first ecological crisis based on the essential humidity decrease (aridization) stimulated the development of our ancestor anthropoid bipedalism.

The modern research doubt this theory though. According to the paleoeological data, the aridization in the East Africa which is believed to be the motherland of the first people, happened significantly later than the transition to upright posture. The time gap between these two events is around 2 million years. 

Anyway both of these theories confirm the ecological crisis occured 2,5-3 million years ago.

The gathering resources depletion for the ancient man

About 30-50 thousand years ago the society met the sever lack of the natural resources used for feeding. The pour range and volumes of the gathering products caused the second crisis in the history of the mankind. To find the solution of the problem our ancestors learned to use the primitive biotechnological ways to recover the ecosystems. For example, the method of the soil burning out.  

The overhunting of the large animals

The steadily growing number of the ancient tribe’s representatives inevitably caused the growing demands. To meet the increasing needs the hunting was used mostly. According to the numerous paleontological research the ancient hunters were the main cause of the mammoth, the cave lion, the cave hyena, the woolly rhinoceros and many other species extinction.

The Neolithic revolution term is based on the two words – “neos” (new) and “litos”(stone). The Stone age came – the time when people start learning to use the new tools made of stone for agriculture

To be honest we need to cover one more theory supposing that the cause of the mammoth extinction were the climate changes while the ice age period and its end. However the excavations in the Siberia area prove that mammoths lives there 8-9 thousand years ago – much later than the ice age period. The only convincing reason of their extinction can be the hunting.

The time period corresponding to this ecological crisis called the consume crisis ( lat. “concume”) refers to 10-50 thousand years ago. It is fairly believed to be the first ecological crisis caused by anthropogenic factors. In fact, it is also the first economical crisis in the history of the mankind as it’s is main hallmark is the lack of the food in society.

Men found the solution in mastering the primitive forms of agriculture and  stock farming saved them that time and later from the hunger death.

This period has been called the Neolithic (or biotechnological) revolution.


The crisis of the primitive irrigated cropping

The new crisis occurred about 1500 years ago and was caused by the unreasonable use of the cultivated lands. It resulted in the soil depletion and salinization decreasing the fertility. People had to search for the alternative ways of agriculture.

The crisis caused the development of the dry agriculture based on the land cultivating without the artificial irrigation. The location of the cultivated lands moved to the areas near the oases and foothills.  

The dry agriculture is used nowadays too. The principal of such farms is based on the land special cultivating keeping the maximum of natural waters in the ground

The shortage of the plant resources and food

The land resources are not unlimited in any area. In 250 years the intensive use of them caused the new crisis based on the depletion and decrease of the lands fertility. Meanwhile the food demand of the multiplied population required the quick solution. This time the industrial revolution became the way out. The industrialization grew up the productivity substituting the hard labor to the machine based.

The ecological crises of nowadays

The industrialization seemed to be the solution assured the mankind with all the needs for the comfortable life, didn’t it? The nearest future demonstrated that the intensive use of the high-waste technology caused several ecological crises simultaneously.

The global pollution and the resource depletion threat

It is logically that the faster you extract the natural resources the sooner they finish. The crisis that started 50 years ago has achieved the alarming level nowadays. The industrial waste poisoning the environment become one more problem among the land degradation and species extinction.

The main solutions seem to become the alternative energy sources and waste-free production but the situation remains critical.

The global thermodynamical crisis ( thermal pollution)

The global thermal crisis is inseparable from the high level of industrial chemical emissions to the atmosphere. Methane, carbon dioxide and other fumes destroying the ozone layer encourage the general increase of the temperature in the lower atmosphere levels causing the inevitable consequences in the Earth land and water ecosystems.

The primary goal of the society is to prevent the aggravation of the greenhouse effect using the new, eco safe technologies.

The global exhaustion of the ecological systems stability

This problem can be named the consequence of the ecological crises mentioned before, the crises humanity went through on the way of its development, this is why it is complicated. Global and total impact of the man on the nature eventually leads to the ecosystem balance violation causing the biological species extinction, the species which are the important links of the food chain system. In other words mastering the complicated industrial technologies we at the same time learned how to destroy nature totally without leaving any chance to recover independently.

What is the key of the modern crisis?

It is typical for the man to be afraid of the threat of the close proximity. Isn’t it a reason the modern ecological crisis is believed to be the most serious of all the crises the mankind went through? Certainly most of the people tend to do that, moreover – many people really believe in that.

However there are logical arguments proving that exactly now our planet is in the position of the critical point – the point of no return to the normal, suitable conditions for living.

16. Naming all the above mentioned forms of the crises global we mean their scope in quantities – large animals extermination, land depletion and other problems that occurred on the area of human habitat in the certain period of time. Today’s ecological situation becomes even more important in its complex nature.

Let’s briefly name the ecological problems from all the periods of human society development and try to find at list one of them that was left behind in the past:

  • natural resources depletion;
  • animal species extinction;
  • land degradation and desertification;
  • land, atmosphere and world ocean global pollution;
  • greenhouse effect;
  • imbalance and instability of the ecosystems.

Each of these problems remain relevant nowadays nevertheless how many thousands years it exists.

Judging from these facts it’s time to make the conclusion: going through the hundreds of centuries people haven’t been fighting the numerous of the ecological crises and haven’t even made an attempt to prevent them. We carefully collected  the ecological problems one to one.

All these years we were choosing the temporary shifting of the crisis threat that our planet arrived at today like a snowball effect. And now we have no time to leave this problem for the next generation as the next generation may probably not exist. The fight for our planet life today is the direct obligation of every inhabitant. Let’s start from looking around and thinking: “What can I do right now?”

You will find the answer as you can a lot.