Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 9:30 AM

Climate and Soils: Their Influence Upon Human Health and Society.

James DeMeo, PO Box 1148, Ashland, OR 97520

Soils and climate are major factors determining the rise of civilizations.  Natural ecology, agricultural potentials and animal herding practices are affected, out of which economic activity, trade and inventiveness develops.  Climatic stability maintains societies, while desertification can bring human societies down, stimulating famine, starvation, mass-migrations and culture collapse. A major climate change impacted the Old World Saharasia Desert Belt -- North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia -- which prior to c.4000 BCE was a relatively well-watered savanna-grassland thick with plants and animal life, and productive soils upon which many now-vanished human societies thrived.  Garamantia (North Africa), old Assyria (Middle East), and Altyn Depe (Central Asia) among others vanished under centuries-long withering droughts. Epochs of conflict developed over remnant oases and exotic rivers, with subsequent starvation-trauma, mass-deaths, conflict-aggression and social collapse.  Archaeology and history shows the progressive appearance and intensification of social violence and war alongside this desertification, where hunting tools were converted into war-weaponry, and more peaceful cultures progressively were displaced or vanished as fertile conditions disappeared.  As the land dried up, soils dessicated, and crops and wildlife vanished, aggressive male-dominated societies appeared.  Women, who traditionally were the agriculturalists and food-gatherers, lost status.  Attending malnutrition affected Infants and children dramatically, with a mild or severe psycho-neurological retardation.  Human behavior and social institutions then progressively turned towards more violent modes.  Social violence and war appears earliest within human history on these dessicating Saharasian landscapes, while well-watered regions most distant remained peaceful the longest. These conclusions on the origins of war developed from a systematic evaluation and mapping of global cultural, archaeological, climate and soils data. World maps indicate a strong geographical correlation between regions of hyper-arid desert and low productivity, to the most extremely patriarchal authoritarian and violent of world cultures.