By J. Donald Hughes
This paintings presents a concise background, from historic to trendy instances, of the interactions among human societies and the opposite types of lifestyles that inhabit our planet. It investigates the ways that environmental adjustments, frequently the results of human activities, have triggered old has a tendency in human societies.
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Extra resources for An Environmental History of the World: Humankind's Changing Role in the Community of Life (Routledge Studies in Physical Geography and Environment)
The australopithecines in East Africa began the technology of making hand axes from stones. Later, Homo erectus (“Man the Upright”), a species even more like us that lived across much of the Old World, knew the use of fire in cooking and keeping warm, and possibly in hunting as well. Our own species presently surviving is called Homo sapiens (“Man the Wise”), and may or may not actually have been wise, but was certainly technologically cunning, from the start. Our clever forebears made grinding stones for wild seeds.
Such was the intuitive understanding of the earliest people whose thought can be fathomed, the tribal hunters and farmers. They regarded Earth as a mother, and worshipped her as a goddess. 2 In the twentieth century, the atmospheric chemist James Lovelock enunciated a theory that all life on Earth acts together like a great living organism to influence temperature, atmospheric composition, and other physical factors so as to maintain optimum conditions for itself. 3 This idea, called the Gaia hypothesis, is a seminal concept, but should be used critically and carefully.
The iconography of the kachinas made two major purposes of the ceremony quite clear: to assure the productiveness of the fields and to call for rain. The translation of a kachina song expresses this: The green prayer-stick brings the water, For the earth and its vegetation are combined in it. From the four corners come the clouds— Come together, gather over us. The green prayer-sticks bring the water, From the four directions in which we planted them. The Spirit of the Rain passes over the prayer-sticks, And their feathers are stirred.