Water Life and Civilisation

Author: Steven Mithen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139496670
Format: PDF, Kindle
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A unique interdisciplinary study of the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society from 20,000 years ago to the present day within the Jordan Valley. It describes how state-of-the-art models can simulate the past, present and future climates of the Near East, reviews and provides new evidence for environmental change from geological deposits, builds hydrological models for the River Jordan and associated wadis and explains how present day urban and rural communities manage their water supply. The volume provides a new approach and new methods that can be applied for exploring the relationships between climate, hydrology and human society in arid and semi-arid regions throughout the world. It is an invaluable reference for researchers and advanced students concerned with the impacts of climate change and hydrology on human society, especially in the Near East.

Water

Author: Steven Solomon
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0060548312
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Far more than oil, the control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization, the transformations of society's vital habitats, and the quality of ordinary daily lives. Today, freshwater scarcity is one of the twenty-first century's decisive, looming challenges, driving new political, economic, and environmental realities across the globe. In Water, Steven Solomon offers the first-ever narrative portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and breakthroughs that have shaped humanity from antiquity's earliest civilizations through the steam-powered Industrial Revolution and America's century. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Water is a groundbreaking account of man's most critical resource in shaping human destinies, from ancient times to our dawning age of water scarcity.

Out of the Earth

Author: Daniel Hillel
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520080805
Format: PDF, ePub
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A moving tribute to the physical and spiritual properties of nature's richestelement by one of the world's leading soil conservationists.

Energy and Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Format: PDF, Mobi
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"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

The Great Maya Droughts

Author: Richardson B. Gill
Publisher: UNM Press
ISBN: 0826323812
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This innovative study argues that the collapse of Classic Maya civilization was driven by catastrophic drought. Between A.D. 800 and 1000, unrelenting drought killed millions of Maya people with famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization. Linking global, regional, and local climate change, the author explores how atmospheric processes, volcanism, ocean currents, and other natural forces combined to create the dry climate that pried apart the highly complex civilization in the tropical Maya Lowlands in the ninth and tenth centuries. Drawing on knowledge of other prehistoric and historic droughts, The Great Maya Droughts is a useful study of the relationship of humans to their natural and physical environment. The author tries to understand why the Classic Maya failed to adjust their behavior and culture to the climatic conditions and why civilizations in general sometimes collapse in the face of radical environmental change.

The Sea and Civilization

Author: Lincoln Paine
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 1101970359
Format: PDF, Kindle
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A monumental, wholly accessible work of scholarship that retells human history through the story of mankind's relationship with the sea. An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history that reveals in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world's waterways. Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors' first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as those of India, Southeast and East Asia who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish vibrant overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European overseas expansion. His narrative traces subsequent developments in commercial and naval shipping through the post-Cold War era. Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be traced to the sea.

Water from Heaven

Author: Robert S. Kandel
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231122454
Format: PDF
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Covering a vast array of scientific fields and recent discoveries, this book tracks a remarkable substance in its liquid, solid, and gaseous states as it cycles through the seas, the atmosphere, land, icecaps and under the earth. Robert Kandel describes what we humans are doing to the water cycle and the climate and explains where we are heading.

Dirt

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520272900
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Ranging from ancient times to modern-day environmental threats, a natural and cultural history of soil explains how an elimination of protective vegetation and an exposure to wind and rain causes severe erosion of cultivated soils, how the use and abuse of soil has shaped human history, and the how the rise of organic and no-till farming holds hope for the future.

Elixir

Author: Brian Fagan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608193578
Format: PDF
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Elixir spans five millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the parched present of the Sun Belt. As Brian Fagan shows, every human society has been shaped by its relationship toour most essential resource. Fagan's sweeping narrative moves across the world, from ancient Greece and Rome, whose mighty aqueducts still supply modern cities, to China, where emperors marshaled armies of laborers in a centuries-long struggle to tame powerful rivers. He sets out three ages of water: In the first age, lasting thousands of years, water was scarce or at best unpredictable-so precious that it became sacred in almost every culture. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, human ingenuity had made water flow even in the most arid landscapes.This was the second age: water was no longer a mystical force to be worshipped and husbanded, but a commodity to be exploited. The American desert glittered with swimming pools- with little regard for sustainability. Today, we are entering a third age of water: As the earth's population approaches nine billion and ancient aquifers run dry,we will have to learn once again to show humility, even reverence, for this vital liquid. To solve the water crises of the future, we may need to adapt the water ethos of our ancestors.