When we think of the great Mayan Empire, as with many of the ancient empires that appeared to be ahead of their time (Egyptians, Aztecs, etc.), we can't help but to get lost in the mystique of it all. We think of all of the great inventions or technological advancements that they displayed whether architecturally, scientifically, and or agriculturally. And because we often get lost in these awe inspiring worlds that they often dominated, we never stop to question whether some of their so called "advancements" may have actually led to their demise.
This very question, "What was behind the mysterious collapse of the Mayan Empire?", has been the driving force behind much research, and recent studies have actually pointed to their environmental impact as the cause.
Sound like a premonition from the great Nostradamus as to the demise of modern society? It should!
It turns out that the Mayan Empire, like many of the "great" empires of our past, had advancements, in one area in particular, in common that had an enormous negative impact on the future of their survival; Agriculture. The farming of annual mono-crops to be exact.
The farming of annual mono-crops, and each empire had their own just as we do today (corn and soy), required (as it does today) unnatural and detrimental changes to the natural landscape in order to successfully yield a bounty worthy of a ruling nation. When we think of something like irrigation, destruction is not what comes to mind. We often marvel at the ability of these ancient civilizations to have irrigated in such a way as to support the hundreds or thousands of acres of mono-crops they farmed, but we don't often realize that it's these advancements that
very well may have drained the life from their world as they knew it.
You can't successfully farm the acreage they did (as we do) without deforestation, or without the damning of rivers and rerouting the water as needed, or without the plowing of perennial prairie land or marsh land. And each of these environmentally damaging acts takes its toll on the environment, whether it be diminishing soil fertility, destruction of precious sensitive supporting ecosystems, or changes in overall climate.
Unfortunately though it seems to be human nature to focus (idealize) on the success of a nation and their ability rule, rather than to focus on their demise. If they were so great, where are they today? The same place we will be years from now if we don't learn from past (and present) mistakes!
Factory farming as it's called today, or farming that revolves around and depends upon mono-crops (corn, soy, etc.), cannot support a nation. It can only support its ultimate unavoidable demise. It leads to drastic negative environmental changes, possibly irreversible in our lifetime, but ultimately death and destruction. What we have taken from these deceased empires, the farming of mono-crops on such a large scale, has led to the overly processed high sugary foods consisting more of laboratory invented ingredients than of actual naturally occurring ingredients. It has led to the extinction of hundreds of thousands of species of both plants and animals, as well as to the onset of countless new diseases. It has led to the creation of GMO's and GE foods and animals. It has led to horrific animal and environmental abuse and cruelty that is so carelessly swept aside, all in the name of agriculture. It has led to a sick unhealthy nation dependent upon the pharmaceutical industry for survival. It ultimately will lead to our demise... unless we change!