A study touting Genghis Khan’s environmental record is being cheered by the team which produced Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Genghis Khan’s great accomplishment for the green cause? Killing off 40 million humans so their un-tilled fields would be overtaken by forests.
While some may find genocide morally repugnant, environmentalists had a different concern: Would reforestation be enough to overcome the greenhouse gases released by all those decaying bodies? Julia Pongratz, who headed the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology research project from the Institution’s Stanford University campus offices, provides the answer in a January 20 news release
We found that during the short events such as the Black Death and the Ming Dynasty collapse, the forest re-growth wasn’t enough to overcome the emissions from decaying material in the soil. But during the longer-lasting ones like the Mongol invasion … there was enough time for the forests to re-grow and absorb significant amounts of carbon.
In other words, the problem with the bubonic plague was that is just didn’t stick around long enough. The CO2 emissions from all those putrefying corpses were just too much for the regrowing forests to overcome. But Genghis Khan and his successors cleared out their empire for centuries. Once the initial wave of putrefaction ran its course, net CO2 uptake began in earnest.
According to a new study, however, war is indeed good for something — the environment. …
The study appears to reaffirm cold-blooded Malthusian common sense: there will be more of something (trees) when there are less of the parasites (people) cutting that something down.
So, can we safely assume that to save the planet we just need to wipe each other out in a series of protracted wars? Even that, according to Pongratz’s study, may not be enough to overcome the negative effects of deforestation-induced climate change.
Which “we” would be “safe” if the rest were “wiping each other out”? Apparently the Gore team believes that the smug, “enlightened, conscious, and progressive” elite would be above it all.
“Take Part, Inspiration to Action” is part of the corporation
which produced An Inconvenient Truth
. According to its website, “TakePart is a website, for one, and also a Social Action Network that includes individuals, NGOs, online communities and brands who share a common interest in making the world a better place. We are a division of Participant Media
, which has produced culture-shifting films such as An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, and Waiting for Superman.”
Gore’s team and the Carnegie Institution are not alone. Leading environmentalists around the world are cheering — and showing that they fully comprehend the study’s misanthropic conclusions.
“It’s a common misconception that the human impact on climate began with the large-scale burning of coal and oil in the industrial era,” says Pongratz, lead author of the study in a press release. “Actually, humans started to influence the environment thousands of years ago by changing the vegetation cover of the Earth‘s landscapes when we cleared forests for agriculture.”
The answer to how this happened can be told in one word: reforestation. When the Mongol hordes invaded Asia, the Middle East, and Europe they left behind a massive body count, depopulating many regions. With less people, large swathes of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
… the Mongol invasion cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
So how did Genghis Khan, one of history’s cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today’s environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire – with a high body count.
Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world’s total land area
had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people
were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.
In Science Daily, putrefaction headlines the story “War, Plague No Match for Deforestation in Driving CO2 Buildup
.” The article explains: “Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today’s annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget.”
Similarly, environmentalists could conclude that the Nazi Holocaust just didn’t last long enough. After twelve years of Nazi rule, Germany was defeated, and humans began to grow in number again. For seventy years, communist Gulags kept populations down on a more “sustainable” basis — but alas, they too are gone. Now it is up to environmentalists, who have for years dominated the culture and legal system of democratic countries, to prove that they can surpass these earlier efforts and — as Khan did — achieve much more long-lasting results.
: “Based on the knowledge we have gained from the past, we are now in a position to make land-use decisions that will diminish our impact on climate and the carbon cycle. We cannot ignore the knowledge we have gained.”
According to its website, “The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future.”
After nine years, they have finally discovered the foundation of “sustainability.”
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