Creating irresistible demand
for a global atmosphere upgrade

Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00474 Climate and Civilization
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
birth of civilization, climate change theories, prehistory and history, Libyan Garamantians
Attention Conservation Notice:
A new theory about climatic impacts on human history.

See Swiss glaciers melt before your very eyes!

World Sustainable Energy Days.

The ancient desert of Rajasthan as the more recent "Sea of Rajasthan."


"Climate Change Forged First Civilizations – Scientist

"UK: September 8, 2006

"NORWICH, England – The earliest civilizations were not a product of favourable conditions but rather a last resort in the face of dramatic shifts in the weather, a climate scientist said on Thursday.

"Flying in the face of accepted theory that settled societies emerged from the development of static farming in good climatic conditions that produced food surpluses and allowed specialisation, Nick Brooks said the opposite was true.

Nick Brooks, Senior Research Associate, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

"Beyond Collapse," a paper by Nick Brooks detailing how climate calamity can turn everyday primitives into a high-tech race of civilized authoritarian slaves. "It has been noted that the rise of Dynastic civilisation in Egypt coincided with the onset of widespread Saharan desiccation," etc etc.

"'Civilisation did not arise as the result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban civilised societies,' he told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

"'On the contrary, what we tend to think of today as civilisation was an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilisation was a last resort,' he added.

"Brooks said he based his theory on close observation of archaeological remains of the Garamantian civilization in the Fezzan region of south-western Libya allied with evidence of changing rainfall patterns 3,000-5,000 years ago.

The Garamantians, miners of fossil water. There's one for the books, Dr. Diamond!

"But he said the pattern could also be found in societies as diverse as South Asia, South America and China.

"As the climate became steadily drier formerly nomadic people were forced to come together for mutual support and to eke out the dwindling natural resources. But not all of the consequences of this merging movement were beneficial – social inequality arose as did organised violence, there was no increase in life expectancy and autocratic governments emerged, Brooks said.

"When climate conditions improved again there was no return to the former order.

"'Once the cat is out of the bag, it doesn't go back. You can't uninvent technology,' Brooks said. (((Unless you collapse, like the Garamantians did.)))

"And he warned against drawing comparisons with the global warming that is predicted to raise average temperatures by around three degrees this century, noting that the temperature rise was well above that which forced the societal change 5,000 years ago."

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Thanks for the attention. I thought I'd alert you to the existence of a more detailed paper on this topic which is essentially an expansion of the abstract for which you provide a link here. The paper, published in "Quaternary International", can be downloaded from my publications page at (second from the top).

All the best, Nick. (home) (Western Sahara Project)
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