Discuss the negative and positive aspects of the development of agriculture. Was it, or was it not the worst mistake in the history of the human race? By deliverables Discuss the negative and positive aspects of the development of agriculture. Was It, or was It not the worst mistake In the history of the human race? Agriculture Is not Just a way of growing food; It Involves In whole spectrum of cultural changes and adaptations by early human communities. The demands and effects of practicing agriculture as a means of survival created a new kind of community life, with new opportunities and new problems for humanity.
For most to our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering wild animals and tutoring wild plants and berries. The hunters-gatherers were able to adapt to virtually all the climate zones and environmental conditions as they tint them, using what is already there. They hunt game – whatever kinds they can find, adapting their life style to the conditions they face. In the tropics they gather mainly plants resources for food, medicine, etc. It is not unusual for them to use several hundred plant species, In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, they may force to rely more on hunting to survive.
They move seasonally to optimize different sources of food as they become available. A very large area is necessary for this kind of life, but human use of the kind and on this scale has relatively little impact on the environment. In hunting and gathering cultures, women L]usually do most of the gathering while the men specialize in hunting. Other than this kind of gender specialization, there is little specialization of roles within the group. Hunter-gatherers tend to accumulate a large and Intimate knowledge of their survival, dangers, food sources and opportunities This knowledge is largely communal; It Is shared by the group.
They lived In a small, continuously moving community; there is little opportunity for economic or other kinds of specialization to develop. Life Is communal; culture and technical knowledge and skills are widely diffused. There are no sharp social distinctions. Some Individuals may enjoy more status than other, but there are few If any class distinctions. Their nomadic way of life and methods of subsistence seems to support only a low child-to-adult ratio, the birth rate tends to remain low, although we are not fully understand why.
They tend to stay In balance with human population and available resources. Since no food is grown and little is stored, the struggle that starts a new day to tint wild toots and avoid starving, the agricultural revolution gradually starts about ten to twelve thousand years ago. People trot different parts to the world began to domesticate plants and animals. It is because agriculture is an efficient way to get more food for less work. Planted crops yield far more per acre than roots and berries.
Pastoralist – the herding of domesticated or partially domesticated animals is more in common culturally with the nomadic styles of life than with sedentary agriculture. It is necessary to move the herds continually in search of fresh pastures. The two ways of life, pastoralist and agriculture, were compatible, or even mutually dependent. The two modes of life existed near one another. Trade usually sprang up between farmers who had grain to exchange for wool, meat and other animal products from pastoral nomads. With agriculture, human beings started to live permanently in one place.
This was new experience to human beings’ way of life. Living in one spot permanently means exploiting a small amount of land very intensively over a long period of time than exploiting a large amount of land extensively, as hunter-gatherers did. For the past 10,000 to 12,000 years, agriculture had spread over the globe and became the dominant mode of life in nearly all over the world inhabited by humans. It formed the basis for a new way of life which we call civilization. This new way of life meant a whole new set opportunities and problems for human beings.
Dependency on few plants – while farmers’ concentration on few main crops which they grew. They gained cheap calories at the cost of poor nutrition. Today Just three high-carbohydrate plants – wheat, rice and corn – provide the bulk of calories ensured by the human species, yet each one is deficient in certain vitamins or amino acids essential to life. If the farmers dependence on a limited number of crops, they could ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. The mix of wild plants and animals in the diets of hunter-gatherers provides more protein and a better balance of other nutrients.
Beside malnutrition and starvation, agriculture encouraged people to live together in large groups or in densely packed spaces. The problem closely related to population growth and to the difficulty of maintaining a clean, healthy living space. Human nines can share many diseases with domestic animals; therefore the clustering of both humans and animals together in unsanitary villages led to the spread of parasites and infectious diseases. Epidemics couldn’t take hold when populations were scattered in small bands that constantly shifted camp.
Nomads can stay clean and healthy simply by moving frequently. Vulnerable to weather – weather patterns constantly fluctuate and rainfall tends to vary unpredictably. Hunter-gatherers collect food from a hundred different plant species, some of which flourish in wet weather, some in dry, some are cold-resistant, etc. In such a mode of life, some sources of food are available whatever the weather is like. Early agriculture tended to be even more vulnerable to changes in the weather than hunting and gathering had been.
I dependency on harvest times – to survive, tatters nave to gather all t for at least once, twice or three times a year, rather than gathering year round. They also have to store the produce for the rest of the year, protect it from moisture, pests and thieves, etc. They have to learn to save and share out in quantities so the community can survive and have seed for next year’s planting. These conditions created a new kind of life style: deep class divisions. Hunter- gatherers have little or no stored food and no concentrated food sources. They live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day.
Therefore, there can be no kings and no landlords. Farming may have encouraged inequality between the sexes as well. Mobile hunter-gatherer groups must necessarily limit the number of children they have to care for at any given time; their way of life simply does not permit large families or large child-to-adult ratios. Large families of many children mean more hands to help in the fields. Therefore, a tendency toward larger families is built into the new way of life, human populations began to increase and then to soar in number. Erosion – agriculture has, unfortunately, degraded the soil in several ways.
Plowing or digging up the soil in preparation for planting – exposes the soil to wind and rain and makes it more susceptible to erosion, especially if the soil is left without plant cover for a long period of time each year. Erosion can also due to the effects of intense agricultural. The soil washed downstream from agriculture lands pushed out into the sea. This process of soil erosion was aggravated by deforestation. Forest lands absorb water well even on steep slopes. However steep slopes tend to degrade quickly once the forest cover is removed by timber cutting, burning, or over-grazing by domestic animals.
Most of the present desert lands of the world are man-made. Many of the areas that once supported great civilizations and large human populations are now unproductive wastes. The shift to an agricultural way of life was not very dependent on new technology. Early farmers used techniques and tools which had long been familiar to hunter- gatherers. The stone axe, hoe, sickle, milling stones were already being used. To rammers, survival is dependent upon getting the seeds to sprout and grow in the soil. There task is relatively simple. Yet it involved hard work.
Originally fields were cleared of weeds and prepared for planting by hand at great effort, using primitive hoes or digging sticks. The invention of the scratch plow about 6,000 years ago was a great labor-saving device for early farmers. It also became revolutionary development where man began a systematic substitution of other forms of energy, in this case animal power, for human muscles. The positive aspects of agriculture extended beyond planting and harvesting. To live y exploiting grain crops, humans must process the grain before it can be eaten.
Human teeth, Jaws and digestive tract are simply not adapted for this kind of diet. The typically human solution to this problem is to develop the knowledge and techniques for processing grain. One early technique to transforming grain intention s mom the seeds slightly between two stones and then to boil the grain in water, making a kind off gruel. If ground into coarse meal, boiling in water will produce something like the oatmeal we still eat at breakfast. Another advantage of sedentary life is the ability to use heavy and breakable – but one the less very useful – household objects made of baked clay.
Hunter-gatherers have no use for pottery because they have to carry their possessions with them when they move. Farmers can reused such objects and put them to multiple uses. The next level of technological development is a potter’s wheel, which he moves with his foot. The wheel may have been developed/invented for these purposes rather than for use in vehicles. In any case, the settled mode of life led to many new discoveries out of which elaborate technologies eventually developed. The discovery of techniques for turning plant and animal fibers into cloth presented a revolutionary improvement in the quality of human life.
In contrast, we’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumble us, and it is unclear whether we can solve it. The evidence interpreted that we are better off in almost every respect. Just count our advantages; we enjoy the most abundant and varied foods, the best tools and material goods, some of the longest and healthiest lives, in history. Most of us are safe from starvation and predators. We get most of our energy from oil and machines, not from our sweat. Who would wanted to trade his life for that of a medieval peasant, a caveman, or even an ape?