Anna G. Motter

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Third Abstract: Past and Present Deforestation

In the article, “Mayan Mysteries”, released by the Global Hydrology Resource Center, Michon Scott focuses on the effect of deforestation on the collapse of the Mayan empire. He believes “by learning from the Maya, modern humans may avoid sharing their fate”. Throughout the article, Scott’s statement seemed to stick with me. Does understanding the mistakes of out ancestors truly effect our present actions? It reminded me of the current relationship in Asia between corruption and massive deforestation.

Present-day Guatemalans were unaware they were on the same trajectory as the Mayans until it was blatantly shown to them. Only then did political leaders and citizens unify to counteract the damage they had caused. However, this case is only one of very few that illustrates Scott’s earlier theory that we can learn from historical mistakes.

Guatemala’s situation only improved because those in leadership positions were on board. The article, “Deforestation Symptomatic of Corrupt Regimes”, written by Marwaan Macan-Markar, is one of numerous articles reporting political and economic corruption throughout Asia as the cause for natural resource degradation, such as deforestation. Similar to most corrupt countries, Cambodia is one area in which an uneven distribution of wealth is blatantly apparent. The poor rely on the harvest of natural resources (e.g. forests) to eke out a living. As corruption persists and they become poorer, natural resources increasingly disappear. The lack of regulation that characterizes an immoral government ignores this matter, exacerbating the situation. No regulation allows large, private logging companies to similarly run rampant. Operating solely for personal gain, these companies make decisions regardless of the harm it causes to the environment and other humans. Cases comparable to Cambodia’s seem to be much more common than those to Guatemala. Yes, we are capable of learning from our mistake, but only if everybody is on board.


This is a very interesting topic of choice. I believe that it is a very good idea to look at past civilizations and learn from their mistakes. While some of the processes may be different due to geographical location, I believe that we can learn much from the mistakes made by past civilizations. Also with the main idea of deforestation I believe that this is especially important to to use because even thought the area may be in a different climate or location, the effects of deforestation are similar when compared to different regions. Political leaders really need to step up and take charge to stop such occurrences from happening because preserving the land is very important especially for the future generations. --Tbruno 23:48, 8 May 2011 (UTC)