Researchers are pointing to overpopulation and drought - two issues which are very familiar in today's world, especially in California - as the reasons for the collapse of the Assyrian Empire, which used to be a flourishing hub in the 7th century BC. The fall of the powerful empire left many people, even to this day, asking what could have led to its demise.
Now, experts are saying that the same issues that are currently plaguing California and many other parts of the world are the very same ones that likely led to the collapse of the once-thriving Assyrian Empire. (1)
Experts detail what likely led to the fall of the Assyrian Empire
Adam Schneider of the University of California, San Diego, along with Selim Adali of Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, are behind the theory, which has been published in the Springer journal Climatic Change. Their hypothesis as to the downfall of so long ago have startling parallels to today's modern times. For example, regarding agriculture, the article states:
One obvious major problem would have been a shortage of food for important cities in the core area of the Empire, especially in the capital. (2)
Rising costs of produce and crop shortages are then explained, which is thought to have played a role in economic disruption.
The article, titled "'No harvest was reaped': demographic and climatic factors in the decline of the Neo-Assyrian Empire," continues:
We also strongly suspect that any economic damage inflicted upon the Assyrian Empire by drought would have served as a key stimulus for the increasing unrest which was to characterize its final decades....
When it comes to overpopulation, the gentlemen call attention to urban renovation and mass importation of laborers that ultimately "created a population level that greatly exceeded the region's natural carrying capacity, particularly during dry years." (2)
Parallels between the collapse of the Assyrian Empire and California's problems
It's hard not to see rather eerie similarities between the collapse of the Assyrian Empire and the drastic changes that are occurring in California.
In fact, it's believed that California's already-grave drought situation has no immediate end in sight; experts with the U.S. Drought Monitor estimate that approximately 82 percent of California is already in a state of severe drought. Add to that the prediction by a study from the University of California at Davis that calls for 2015 to be another dry year that will likely lead to over $1 billion in farm losses, and one can't help but question economic, food and social stability. (3)
So detrimental is the situation in California that even NASA has warned of a resulting impact that could shatter such stability globally.
They note that Californians in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins have lost an estimated 4 cubic miles of total water annually since 2011, more water than all 38 million Californians put together use yearly for both municipal and domestic purposes. With droughts intensifying at seemingly warp speeds, NASA warns of a domino effect that will cause one collapse after another as complications from food shortages, a fast-growing world population facing hunger and civil unrest unfold. (4)
Looking at the past to improve the future
Could California and other areas like it become the next Assyrian Empire? It would appear so.
Schneider and Adali said that "the Assyrians can be 'excused' to some extent for focusing on short-term economic or political goals which increased their risk of being negatively impacted by climate change, given their technological capacity and their level of scientific understanding about how the natural world works. We, however, have no such excuses, and we also possess the additional benefit of hindsight, which allows us to piece together from the past what can go wrong if we choose not to enact policies that promote longer-term sustainability." (2)
Written by Jennifer Lilley (NaturalNews)
Featured image: Dry Folsom by Robert Couse-Baker (Flickr - CC)