Author of ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ – Eco-suicide is the new danger; writer finds a warning in failures of past civilizations
Developed nations consume 32 times more of the world’s natural resources on a per capita basis than the rest of the world.
If those nations continue to live like gated communities, heedless of looming environmental catastrophe, we all risk falling prey to the dire fate of failed civilizations.
That was the message delivered by Jared Diamond, noted author, professor and the speaker on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Thomas H. Kean lecture series at Drew University in Madison.
Speaking to a capacity crowd at the Simon Forum, the UCLA professor of geography and influential observer of environmental issues, based his remarks on research done for his 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller “Guns, Germs and Steel,” and his acclaimed follow-up work, “Collapse” which examines why civilizations succeed or fail.
Oddly enough, my wife and I had this exact same discussion less than a week ago. My wife, a grad student in Library and Information Science, brought up many of the same examples. It’s startling to look at our civilization in the same light of that of the Aztecs and the Romans, but we’re not so different as we give ourselves credit for. Today, however, we have more knowledge of the past than any civilization has ever had. Are we going to learn from our predecessors or are we going to doom ourselves to the same mistakes?