Skip to content


Extreme Weather: The Maya and Us



Dissident Voice Article

dissidentvoice.org
By Thomas Riggins

Two weeks after hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey and New York, thousands of people are still without power, food or potable water and are dependent on the city, state and federal government, and increasingly on Occupy Sandy (the volunteers from Occupy Wall Street and related groups) for basic survival goods.

Sandy represented extreme weather conditions that crippled the emergency response facilities of the government — nationally and locally. No one had the foresight to plan ahead for such a wide spread storm disaster. Scientists and realistic politicians are now saying that Sandy like events will be increasing in frequency as the earth continues to heat up due to global warming and the use of fossil fuels (oil,coal and gas). What the people of the North East have gone through in the last several weeks may well be “the new normal.”

These extreme weather events are not limited to the United States but are world wide phenomena. The whole international system may collapse in we can’t halt the warming of the atmosphere. It won’t be the first time a civilization has collapsed due to radical changes in weather. ScienceDaily published an article that details how the civilization of the Maya Indians in Mexico and Central American collapsed and extreme weather changes are the suspected cause.1

An interdisciplinary group of scientists determined after decades of extreme weather the political system of the Maya, and the Maya population itself was basically destroyed. Bruce Winterhalder, co-author of the report (which appeared in the journal Science for 11-9-12) was quoted as saying, “Here you had an amazing state-level society that had created calendars, magnificent architecture, works of art, and was engaged in trade throughout Central America. They were incredible craftspersons, proficient in agriculture, statesmanship and warfare [always a sign of civilization] — and within about 80 years, it fell completely apart.”

Scientists correlated the written record of the Maya (using the Maya Hieroglyphic Data Base) with oxygen isotope dating of stalagmites from caves in the Maya culture area which provided them with a 2000 year record of rainfall. The scientists found that when rain was plentiful (300-660 AD) Maya culture experienced the growth of cities and of population but during a subsequent drying period (660-1000 AD) political instability set in, warfare increased, and the state finally collapsed. Then a drought began (1020-1100 AD) and the Maya population withered and collapsed likely because of “crop failures, death, famine, migration” and other extreme events.

Martha Macri, the other co-author and like Winterhalder from UC Davis, remarked, “It has long been suspected that weather events can cause a lot of political unrest and subject societies to disease and invasion. But now it is clear. There is physical evidence that correlates right along with it. We are dependent on climatological events that are beyond our control.”

But there is a big difference between the Maya case and our own. The Maya actually did not have any control and could not see their end coming. But we know what is causing our extreme weather — carbon emissions and some other chemicals as well and we know it is the big corporations (and state owned ones as well) existing in a for profit capitalist economic framework that are responsible. Are these corporations really beyond “our” control — i.e., the democratic control of the people?

Dr. Winterhalder said about the story of the the Maya that, “It’s a cautionary tale about how fragile our political structure might be. Are we in danger the same way the Classic Maya were in danger? I don’t know. But I suspect that just before their rapid descent and disappearance, Maya political elites were quite confident about their achievements.”

Yes, but we are not run by “political elites” the same way the Maya were. This past election in the US showed that people can unite and fight off the political elites representing nothing but the profit motivated capitalist corporations. The democratic people’s movement has won some breathing space and now has an opportunity to push the US government into a serious commitment to fight global warming. It is one thing to go down before an invisible unknown enemy and another to know who your enemy is and know you have the power to stop him, and do nothing.

  1. Extreme Weather Preceded Collapse of Ancient Maya Civilization,” (11-8-12).

View the original article at dissidentvoice.org

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Climate Change, Politics.

Tagged with death, Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Occupy Wall Street, population, Science, Scientists, United States.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Any support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks is all it takes to help keep the servers running and #altnews alive!

Please remember I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has been taken offline by their original hosters which would be unavailable for viewing if it wasn't for this site. Therefore I would kindly ask you to help support me so that the site can continue doing what I think is an important job as well as reporting on stories the mainstream media would rather you didn't know about. I personally think it is important to host material such as removed reports that show that even FOX News once repoted on Israeli spy rings following the 9.11 hijackers before September 11th Or publishing the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was removed from their site once they enacted some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power.

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation, especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful!


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.



css.php