Why Do Societies Collapse? By Jared Diamond

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In the TED Talk given by Jared Diamond titled Why do societies collapse?, Diamond explores different reasons why societies are bound to collapse. Even more specifically, Diamond has a five-point framework of why societies collapse. These five points are: 1.) Human impact on the environment 2.) Climate change 3.) Relations with neighboring friendly societies 4.) Relations with hostile societies and 5.) Political, economic, social and cultural factors that make a society more or less likely to perceive and solve environmental problems. Diamond also comments on the fact that many societies often collapse only a few short decades after reaching their peak and on the role that decision-making plays in the collapse of society. For example, he references …show more content…
When using Diamond’s five-point framework of why societies are bound to collapse, Bangladesh checks off two of these factors: human impact on the environment and climate change. It is not shocking that it is these two factors that are heavily contributing to the collapse of the Bangladeshi society because human impact on the environment and climate change go hand in hand. The burning of fossil fuels is a part of humanity’s impact on the environment which in turn contributes to climate change. The power dynamic (in terms of decision making elites versus the rest of society) that Diamond speaks about is also evident when looking at Bangladesh. In this case, developed nations are the elites and they are making the decisions to do things such as use fossil fuels as an energy source. Undeveloped nations are thus the rest of society, who hold no power in terms of decision making and bear the brunt of the damaging effects of climate change. Developed nations’ decisions to not be powered sustainably may seem alright when looking at things on a short term scale, but as Diamond notes, are bad in the long run. Thinking about whether or not Bangladesh is a collapsing society raised several other questions for me. The first being that even though I know that climate change and the rising waters are heavily to blame for the collapsing Bangladeshi society, I can’t help but wonder more about how Bangladesh’s own government is handling this crisis? Also, I know this was touched on slightly in the article but what steps are being taken to increase infrastructure? Finally, since countries such as the United States are being held responsible for contributing to climate change and its effects, what will it take for these developed nations to take a stand for the environment? I find it saddening that convenience or money or politics or whatever is driving developed countries

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