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As first reported at the New York Times, a recent study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences makes a strong case for the influence of climate change on the demise of the Harrapan civilization of the Indus plains, a sophisticated culture that “rose about 4,500 years ago, flourished for 600 years and then began a steady and relentless decline.” Essentially, the study shows, the civilization was highly dependent on monsoon rains to feed the flooding of rivers in the Indus valley, its essential means for watering crops, and was thus unable to adapt to climatic changes that weakened the monsoons, and failed to flood the rivers (the Harrapans did not utilize irrigation systems, being spoiled by what they believed was an infinite cycle of river flooding). (more…)
Lt. Col. Alan Samuels, a recent recipient of the White House Champion of Change award, recently penned an interesting piece on his experience studying the U.S. Department of Defense’s operational energy programs. The article covers some of the key elements of programs like the U.S. Army’s Energy to the Edge, which seeks to free soldiers from costly and dangerous fuel and water resupply missions by providing “field hybrid and renewable energy technologies to the point of need – the forward operating bases and combat outposts where our mission in Afghanistan is so critically tied to counterinsurgency operations.” He concludes that benefits for troops “are measured in increased operational capability, greater combat efficiency, and lower risk.” Click here for the full piece.