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Drought Led To Assyrian Empire's Fall — Are There Similarities Today?

Drought Led To Assyrian Empire’s Fall — Are There Similarities Today?
Drought Led To Assyrian Empire's Fall — Are There Similarities Today?
GUEST:Adam Schneider, anthropologist, UC San Diego, first author on a study published in Climatic Change

We may think of climate change as a modern problem and the buildup of greenhouse gases caused by human activity as a new phenomenon. But the Earth's climate has never been stable.


Now, a new study says that instability may have been a factor in the fall of one of the greatest empires in the ancient world.

UC San Diego anthropologist Adam Schneider, a co-author of the study that was published in Climatic Change this month, said the mistakes made in the last decades of the Assyrian Empire, including how to deal with a drought, can also serve as lessons for our own time.

“We, like the Assyrians, draw most of our water from distant sources — the Colorado River, for example. And so we are overtaxing a water supply that is artificially enhanced beyond what we would be able to generate if we just focused on local sources,” Schneider said.

Schneider said the environment isn't the only factor that affects a community, but it can amplify the stresses and other issues that exist in a society.