J. Diamond’s Collapse: Harappa Throughout the course of history, major complex civilizations have always found themselves in a state of decline, and possibly even collapse. In “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” Jared Diamond lays out the questions and issues and issues at the foundation of his theory on the collapse of societies.Diamond uses five factors that could contribute to the collapse of a society: damage that people in inadvertently inflict on the environment, climate-change, hostile neighbors, decreased support by friendly neighbors, and finally the ubiquitous question of the society’s responses to its problems, whether those problems are environmental or not. The first factor is environmental damage.
The first eight categories that describe how past societies damaged their environments are deforestation, soil problems, water management problems, over hunting, over fishing, effects of introduced species, human population growth and increased percapita impact of people. Later, Diamond adds four more environmental problems to the original eight: human-caused climate change, build up of toxic chemicals in the environment, energy shortages, and full human utilization of the Earth’s photosynthetic energy.Sometime after 1900 B. C.
E. , Harappan Society entered a period of decline. Not all five factors, or eight categories necessarily apply to the collapse of the Harappan Society. Although there are specific handicaps that prevent scholars, who study the Harappan Society, follow their development, one problem that I’m sure probably didn’t factor into their decline was water management problem– simply because they were the first society to establish, and effectively use, sewage systems.One cause was ecological degradation: Harrapans deforested the Indus valley in order to clear land for cultivation and to obtain firewood. The major factor in the collapse of the Harappa was deforestation and habitat destruction.
Deforestation led to erosion of topsoil and also reduced amounts of rainfall. Gradually, their land became a desert. The only reason there is some agriculture is mainly because of artificial irrigation.
As the Harappa increased in population size, their amount of agriculture was insufficient to their survival.The constant destruction of trees decreased their ability to utilize the Earth’s natural photosynthetic capabilities, causing early stages of global warming and chemical buildup. Their soil was also being used up as the population increased because of the demand for food. This meant that there was a continuous effort to create new soil to cultivate the necessary crops for an emergent society. It is also possible that natural catastrophes might have weakened their society, for example, periodic floods in the Indus River, or earthquakes.
The inability of the Harappa to realize that they were affecting their environment also played a prominent role in their downfall. They didn’t do anything much to repair their environment, and continued their way of life for about two-hundred years. At about 1700 B.
C. E. most populations had abandoned the cities as the complexity of their adversity made it impossible to uphold societies. By 1500 B. C. E.
Harappan cities had almost entirely collapsed.There was little evidence of any hostility within their city walls; nothing that involved criminal or military violence. Although about all Harappan cities disappeared, it didn’t mean that their social and cultural traditions because other peoples from different societies adopted Harappan ways for their own purposes. In conclusion, there may have been several factors that contributed to the collapse of the Harappa Society. However, the main cause of their downfall was their constant deforestation and destruction of habitats.