Agriculture Impact on Civilization

Although it has been to be known pretty common these days, the development of agriculture had a huge impact on civilization. Known as the “Neolithic Revolution” which started about nine thousand BCE had a great affect of the way people lived. Since farming started it had a positive impact that cities and civilizations grew, not only that but the population grew as well.

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From roughly six to ten million people to what we know of today which is seven billion and still growing. There is really no saying as to what lead humanity to farming. Many have thought the climate change after the last ice age in the Near East brought along different seasonal conditions that helped with the growth of plants like wild cereals. In places like East Asia, there was pressure to use natural food resources.

Agriculture had a positive impact on humanity in terms of population. This is due to the fact that over time we were able to replace things that weren’t consumable by humans with items that were. With techniques like irrigation we were also able to make plants where they normally wouldn’t have. Humans have been estimated to have existed for about two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand years ago. Yet, we have no evidence of our ancestors having discovered agriculture before fifteen to t thousand years ago.

Many have wondered how they survived but, it is believed that they only hunted for food. They believe that at times they foraged a big meal where they didn’t know what to do with it. Then other times when they wouldn’t know when their next meal was going to happen. For this it is believed many times the often-starved waiting to find their next meal. Because of the shortage of food at times it was difficult having many people in one area. Places like rain forests, were able to support a higher number of people. Before agriculture was around the world was only know to support around ten million people. The pigs, cows and corn you see today at grocery did not independently evolve. It is a product of human selection from thousands of years ago.

About ten to fifteen thousand years ago was the last glacial period which coincides with the evolution of agriculture. You’re probably wondering what the last glacial period had to do with the evolution of agriculture. Well the answer is because, there was more moisture in the air, a lot less frozen soil. With this in mind it provided better living conditions for animals and plants. Modern humans have been around for about two hundred thousand years, over the years our brains, language and culture have continued to develop. It could be that as up to ten to twenty thousand years ago we had the right mental and cultural development to be able implement agriculture. This is to be believed because of the way humans were able to create more sophisticated stone objects which coincide with the Neolithic period.

Pastoralism which is the herding of animals such as sheep, cattle and goats which began roughly around the same time as the cultivation of plants. In some regions plant cultivations were difficult to uphold due to the fact of rocky terrains or climates that were unfavorable. Many pastoralists where known to wander because their live styles differed from hunter-foragers because they didn’t solely rely on natural occurring resources. They milked animals for their dairy products and used their wool to weave textiles. Which in fact they used to trade with societies that were big on agriculture as it was roughly new. There was conflict that did arise between the pastoralist and farmers. In other cases, pastoralists did trade goods with other farmers in a harmonious relationship.

To expand their amount of usable land farmers used complex tools to cultivate and irrigate their fields and to build settlements. Agriculturists cleared forests using the “Slash and Burn” technique. This technique is done by removing a ring of bark from trees. This would dry out the trees making them easier to burn. The ash that was left over from the trees was used as a fertilizer for the soil. Although pastoralism was great it did bring up some challenges to not only the environment but to the people as well. There was always the fear of too many animals being heavily concentrated in one are due to “overgrazing” to the land. Overgrazing is when animals are concentrated in one area which can damage the vegetation and the ground would become liable to erosion. Which would mean they would no longer be able to use that part of land. Not only was overgrazing a concern but also the fear of animals transferring diseases to humans.

Farmers were able to produce more food than they needed leading them to be able to trade with others for other goods. What this meant is people who were not farmers were able to focus on other goods and were able to trade their good for food or any other goods available. People being able to focus on solely one thing took off the worry about finding food to survive. They were able to focus on one thing which lead to increased productivity which lead to better creations such as tools, weapons and buildings. This also had an impact on government to oversee their work and had military protect people and their resources.

With the agricultural revolution a few thousand years after population centers evolved into the first wave of city-states. With time those states were able to have complex bureaucracies to administer and tax their people. If it weren’t for the agricultural revolution who knows where we would be today. Due to the fact that before agriculture humans were known to hunt for their food with a limited supply. All in all, with the upbringing of agriculture had a huge impact on the world we see today. Many of these practices are still done today with some changes.

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