Discuss the negative and positive aspects of the development of agriculture. Was it, or was it not the worst mistake in the history of the human race?

1690 Words May 7th, 2002 7 Pages
Discuss the negative and positive aspects of the development of agriculture. Was it, or was it not the worst mistake in the history of the human race?

Agriculture is not just a way of growing food; it involves in whole spectrum of cultural changes and adaptations by early human communities. The demands and effects of practicing agriculture as a means of survival created a new kind of community life, with new opportunities and new problems for humanity.

For most of our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering wild animals and foraging wild plants and berries. The hunters-gatherers were able to adapt to virtually all the climate zones and environmental conditions as they find them, using what is already there. They hunt game
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If the farmers dependence on a limited number of crops, they could ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. The mix of wild plants and animals in the diets of hunter-gatherers provides more protein and a better balance of other nutrients.

Beside malnutrition and starvation, agriculture encouraged people to live together in large groups or in densely packed spaces. The problem closely related to population growth and to the difficulty of maintaining a clean, healthy living space. Human beings can share many diseases with domestic animals; therefore the clustering of both humans and animals together in unsanitary villages led to the spread of parasites and infectious diseases. Epidemics couldn't take hold when populations were scattered in small bands that constantly shifted camp. Nomads can stay clean and healthy simply by moving frequently.

Vulnerable to weather - weather patterns constantly fluctuate and rainfall tends to vary unpredictably. Hunter-gatherers collect food from a hundred different plant species, some of which flourish in wet weather, some in dry, some are cold-resistant, etc. In such a mode of life, some sources of food are available whatever the weather is like. Early agriculture tended to be even more vulnerable to changes in the weather than hunting and gathering had been.

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