Let’s play “find that correlation!”


Okay, look, a 200-year drought is nothing to sneeze at. Still:

A 200-year-long drought 4,200 years ago may have killed off the ancient Sumerian language, one geologist says.

Because no written accounts explicitly mention drought as the reason for the Sumerian demise, the conclusions rely on indirect clues. But several pieces of archaeological and geological evidence tie the gradual decline of the Sumerian civilization to a drought.

The findings, which were presented Monday (Dec. 3) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, show how vulnerable human society may be to climate change, including human-caused change.

“Including human-caused change.” How does that phrase even get into a story about a bronze-age civilization that might have — not did, but might have — been destroyed in part by a two-century drought?

A drought that — in a warning the modern world ignores at its peril — the Sumerians, with their fantastically advanced technological society, probably caused themselves. Right? And if they couldn’t withstand the consequences of their own irresponsibility, what chance do we have?

Oh, no, wait: they couldn’t have caused it. It’s not like they were all driving to work solo in their own private jets. Unless bovines were a lot bigger and smellier then than they are today. That drought — which the researchers aren’t completely sure about, remember — had to be completely natural in its origins.

Go figure.

And, come to think of it, the Sumerians weren’t all that advanced, technologically. Not that they were unwashed savages or anything — they accomplished quite a bit, or so my usual amount (5 minutes) of internet research tells me. Cuneiform writing, the wheel, mass irrigation. But it was an early bronze-age civilization.

Now, look, I’m not judging. Nope. Wouldn’t do that. But still…when the wheel and the sail are your two biggest technological achievements, maybe you’re not quite as able to deal with change as easily as a people who have split the atom and walked on the moon and sent videos of cats playing football instantaneously across the globe to hundreds of people at once. Maybe you don’t have quite the same capacity to adapt, and find new solutions to changing conditions.

And maybe — just maybe — that anachronistic and self-centered “we’re doomed!” comment was just a little out of place.

(Posted by The TrogloPundit.)

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