Grants Pass, OR (PRWEB) January 14, 2014
Modern civilization, with its growing populations and shrinking per-capita water supply, could learn many lessons about water conservation from the ancient Anasazi culture of the United States Southwest. That was the conclusion of author and Biology Professor CD Shelton, PhD, in a recent interview on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water radio show. The Anasazi, according to Shelton, had a highly developed culture supported by an advanced water conservation system. But when faced with extended drought, they mysteriously vanished.
CD Shelton is a Professor of Biology and the author of dozens of fiction and non-fiction books related to conservation and the environment. His latest non-fiction book is Water: the Essential Ingredient for Life.
Sharon Kleyne is a well known water and health advocate who hosts the globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes. Kleyne is Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, a fresh water and health research, education and product development center. The Research Center’s global signature product, Nature’s Tears® EyeMist®, provides a personal all-water mist to relieve dry eye discomfort.
During Shelton’s discussion with Kleyne on the importance of water to life and civilization, Shelton cited the example of the ancient Anasazi, who lived in the Four Corners region of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, from 700 to 1130 CE. The Anasazi are also referred to as the “Pueblo I” and “Pueblo II” cultures.
The Anazasi are most famous for their elaborate cliff dwellings but also constructed extensive mesa-top pit buildings and other above-ground buildings.
Sharon Kleyne pointed out that according to her research, the Anasazi’s advanced dry land farming methods enabled them to feed a growing population with minimal and highly variable annual rainfall, using check dams, terraces and mulch. According to Kleyne, this lasted until the “Great Drought,” a 300 year period beginning in 300 CE. As water decreased, warfare increased and the Anasazi responded by moving their homes from the relative luxury of mesa tops to the sides of cliffs and to remote, high elevation areas.
The fate of the Anazasi is greatly in dispute but according to Shelton, there is no question that they abruptly left the area following a particularly severe 13 year drought. They tended to move frequently anyhow, Kleyne noted, because the resources at any given location could not sustain them for very long. The Great Drought, according to Kleyne, also wiped out the Mississipean cultures of the southeastern United States.
According to Shelton, there are lessons to be learned from the fate of the Anasazi that are applicable to our modern global water situation. Their techniques of water conservation and dry land farming were exemplary but could not sustain them through an extended, severe drought. More important, Kleyne adds, they were never able to survive without occasionally raiding their neighbors. This is not too different from the water wars and other conflicts that often accompany today’s water shortages. Had the Anasazi learned to work together to increase their knowledge, Shelton and Kleyne believe, they might still be around.