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Our Environmental Dilemma – Past, Present and Future …

In this 2017 UCT Summer School Series, Dr Peter Ardington (BVSc SAVC) presents on “A Brown History of the World ~ Part 1”, where he discusses and presents on the history of mankind’s arrogance and sense of self-importance which has driven and is driving mankind’s care and more importantly lack thereof, into an unsustainable dilemma.

This two-part presentation will explore and analyse the environmentally negative influence of people from the emergence of our species, between 200,000 and 400, 000 years ago, up to the present.

There is a wide selection of forest, jungle, fresh and salt water, desert and tundra environments, however, we will be focusing on grasslands in general, because we are a bipedal, upright walking species of grassland primate, dependent on the grasslands for most of what supports us.

8 million years ago, two important changes reached a critical tipping point on earth, developing over time, being a) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached an all-time low after 300 million years of exuberant forest growth and b) the drying out of large areas of the planet due to cooling from 30 million years ago to 8 million years ago.
The significance of these changes at that tipping point in time, was that those two changes were ‘hostile’ to trees who prefer high CO2 in the atmosphere and wet conditions, the term ‘tropical rain forest’ applies – whereas, grasses on other hand tolerate low CO2 and dry conditions very well, growing right up to the edges of deserts.

This change put a great deal of pressure on various forms of life, particularly on Africa’s primates, which were all forest dwellers and as a result of adaptation, mutation, selection and extinction of various species, a common ancestor emerged. A common ancestor to today’s three surviving species, i.e Humans, Chimpanzee and Bonobo.

Watch further.. on this fascinating presentation about, amongst others, a variety of environmentally negative outcomes such as human-induced extinctions, deforestation, soil erosion and desertification, hunter-gatherer influence, agricultural revolution/era, mass faunicide (1840CE), etc.

A brief history of the past twelve thousand (12,000) years with emphasis on the change to agriculture and city based civilisations.

(See Part 2 here :  http://www.motherchannel.com/environmental-dilemma-past-present-future-part-2/)

South African Veterinary Council
Summer School, UCT
Synopsis of Green History of the World, by Clive Ponting

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