Were the Mayans Really Responsible for “Killing” Themselves?

by Dian Obligacion on January 23, 2014, no comments

If we need to be on the progressive side of the fence, we need to look at the past. We could learn
a lot of things from the past. But, the best teacher of all that comes from the past is the demise of a once-great civilization and the Mayan civilization is one of them.

The Mayans were once a great race and we owe a lot of things from them from agriculture to
astronomy, from architecture and even to communications and engineering. We have learned
so much from them. But, the one that we should be attentive to is how they have “killed” themselves?

The Mayans flourished in the past and you can even say that a Mayan city was teeming with people numbering between 2,000 to 3,000 people per square mile. Even in the Mayan rural areas, there could be 200 to 300 people per square mile. Think Los Angeles or even New York. That was how a Mayan city or town would look like. But, all of a sudden, as if a swift wind blew them away, everything became silent. The Mayans were gone. What happened?

Just like us, the Mayans were also growing in number and they needed much space to occupy everyone. Yes, they did live harmoniously with the environment. They always pray to their “gods” for bountiful harvests and they respect all kinds of life here on Earth. But, when the call for progress was unavoidable, they resorted to things like deforestation. Not only they needed more space for their ever-growing population but they also needed progress. They were building temples as fast as anyone can imagine back in those days. To build a temple, they needed lime plaster from limestone that must be burned. To burn limestone, they needed wood. So, off to the forests they went and cut as many trees as they can. They need to cut down like 20 trees just to make 1 square meter of lime plaster. They have a lot of “gods”. So, they needed a lot of temples.

More temples mean more lime plaster which means more limestone to burn which means more trees to cut down. Before they know it, drought came upon them and a lot of them died of starvation. Since they don’t have a lot of vegetation and animals that they hunt also ran away to look for “greener pastures”, they also left their settlement.

That is how the Mayans “killed” themselves. We owe a lot from them and we can learn from their mistakes. If we don’t do anything to correct ourselves, 200,00 years from now, a new race will be digging up a place that was once called New York and find some artifacts like an iPad or a vehicle and would be studying a lot of things about “New Yorkers”, that is, if there is anything left including subway train fossils.

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