Over the past week or so, in the Human Ecology class, we've been doing a rapid survey of human societies in terms of their cultural/ecological core, discussing the key elements of the main types of society and its governance of natural resources: hunter-gatherer, horticulturist, pastoralist, agrarian, and industrial. As a supplement to my lecture and the class discussions we've had (and because my throat didn't feel up to speaking for 75 min today), I also found three videos of TED Talks that take us through another sort of rapid tour through the trajectory of human diversity from when our first ancestors gazed upon the African savannah to the societal collapse that may soon be upon us if we don't get our own collective together and rethink ow we govern our natural resources.
First, we have Spencer Wells taking us through the population genetics of human origins. Next, National Geographic's Wade Davis takes us on a global tour of human cultural diversity at its peak, and laments the rapid loss of languages and cultures we've seen in the recent past. And to round things off, Jared Diamond speaks of the complete collapse of some earlier complex societies, and what lessons they hold for us as we rush headlong towards the cliff ourselves. Look below the fold for these videos.