In his article “Lessons from Lost Worlds”, Jared Diamond briefly relates the environmental issues facing the world today. He compares drought issues in Southern California to those of the ancient Anasazi or the Four Corners area of the American southwest, deforestation issues to the collapse of Polynesian societies and the interdependence of cultures to the collapse of island cultures as well/ Diamond points out that many of the countries causing political unrest around the world are among the most environmentally devastated and overpopulated in the world.
He argues that it took the calamity of September 11, 2001, to make most Americans aware of their relationship with the rest of the world and that globalization means that we can be affected by global events far beyond the American borders.
Diamond is a professor of geography and public health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a director of the World Wildlife Fund. Both speak to his predisposition to seeing global climate change as a serious evil, even though he begins his article by saying that he had not considered the ramifications of environmental issues until his children were born. He also uses himself and the Anasazi chieftains as an example of why people should care about the environment.
The argument that it doesn’t affect me may not be true, as in the case of the last Anasazi’s, or it may be our children that will live with the consequences of our actions. Diamond takes it as a given that parents want the world to be a better, or at least as good, place for their children. However, he blames the lack of will to change our own lives for what we are doing to the planet.
The argument that the worst environmentally destroyed nations and most over-populated are political hotbeds is very convincing. I read recently that Pakistan fights a constant battle with mass immigration from India and because of it, the two countries are always on the brink of war. The main issue is that the India is well-overpopulated and has insufficient water for its people, so they leave trying to find another place to get their basic needs.
People who cannot get enough food and water rightly resent those who appear to have everything and terrorists and those who support them develop as a result. I agree with Diamond’s observations that if we take more time to correct global climate issues, we may in fact be fixing some of our political issues as well.