12/04/2014 · Science and civilization go hand in hand
Civilization Essay -- science - 123HelpMe
After newly exposed forest soils have produced a few crops, the yield will decline due to nutrient depletion. When the croplands receive less precipitation, yields drop. When soils wash away due to erosion, crop yields in those eroded soils will decline. Those effects reduce the EROI and surplus energy of farming those lands. When cropland is abandoned due to aridity, nutrient depletion, and erosion, and lands farther from Rome were conquered, deforested, and farmed, it took more energy to transport those crops to Rome than with farms closer to Rome. That also depressed the EROI and surplus energy. When harbors silted up and needed dredging, or were eventually abandoned and a port was built farther away, that also reduced the EROI and surplus energy of Rome-bound food. When food was used to feed soldiers who traveled increasingly vast distances to conquer and plunder peoples and their lands, those would be lower-EROI ventures than conquests closer to Rome. That dynamic has also been called in academic parlance, but in scientific terms, it is really just sucking the dregs of low-EROI resources after high-EROI energy sources have been depleted. Rome’s decline was really just another resource-depletion dynamic. Humanity’s first one was , and Rome only experienced what , , , , and numerous other early civilizations already suffered. Rome just did it on an unprecedented scale.
Science and Civilization - An Essay | Trees | Evil
Energy is the master resource of all organisms, all ecosystems, and all economies. When a civilization centralizes its energy consumption, which were food and wood in preindustrial civilizations, to a central city, and it has to keep expanding farther and farther from that city to obtain that energy, the is going to reduce the EROI of those increasingly distant energy resources, and hence reduce the . Also, the practices of and agriculture provide short-term agricultural yields, but the wood would be almost instantly used (about 90% of the wood imported to Rome was burned, which was the typical ratio for ancient cities). The soils became eroded, depleted, and often abandoned as the land could no longer support farming, partly because the entire process made the land more arid. If they could import water to irrigate (usually a rare situation), that could help ameliorate the process, but it took more time and effort and made it more difficult. There were no accountants, scientists, or engineers monitoring and measuring the process, but all of those dynamics would reduce the system’s EROI and surplus energy and make it less resilient, so it was vulnerable to disruptive shocks.