Lessons in Sustainability from History

There are so many lessons on sustainability that we can learn if we only look back at our history.

Think about something as basic as water.  Water is imperative to the survival of our species.  Beginning around 6000 BC people began digging simple small-scale canals for irrigating small plots of land. By 3000 BC, canals had become enormous in scale, transforming the landscape.  There was a downside though to the prosperity water management brought. Expanding populations stripped the fertility of the land, stagnant water bred disease, and variability in the landscape, weather, and use led to conflict over access and rights.  The problems we face today all have historical precedents.

The chief goal of Chihuahuan Desert Charities is that our agricultural programs reach more and more students.  Bringing together science and sustainability. If we look at the past we can see that we need to invest in our future.  The children are the future. In our environment, we require healthy ecosystems. It is essential to the survival of humans and other organisms.  It is crucial to us at Chihuahuan Desert Charities to reduce the negative human impact and ensure we are environmentally-friendly.



The growth in population and city size created another problem: garbage and its accumulation.  We know from modern examples that in smaller villages people will simply carry sharp, large, dangerous, or smelly waste to the edge of town and dump it there. But what happens when the edge of town gets further away?  (Dr. Augusta McMahon, Professor of Ancient History of the Near East, University of Cambridge)

Historical context exists for every aspect of sustainability. The ecological is easy; we have everything from climate records to FEMA maps to tell us about how the land around us changed over time. There is economic data for almost every level of society.  Social information perhaps more difficult to attain but then qualitative data (memoirs, interviews, popular culture, etc.) can open doors that lead to questions that might otherwise go unasked. When you put all this knowledge together we can tell that a change in our ways is desperately needed.  We can only do it if we do it together. It takes all of us understanding the importance of teaching our children sustainable agriculture.

What can we learn from Easter Island? Check out this video on Lessons From the Past.

“The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains – mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.”  (John Muir)

The DYGUP & SUSTAIN Program is a non-profit dedicated to regenerative organic agricultural practices to teach the benefits of land stewardship in the Paso del Norte Region. DYGUP, an acronym for Developing Youth from the Ground Up, is available to youth ages 14-17. The SUSTAIN program targets adults over 18 and combines "Roots Of Success" Environmental Literacy Curriculum with intensive farmer training. The DYGUP/ Sustain Program has many partnerships in the community including Taylor Hood Farms, Backyard  Farms LC, First Christian Church, and Las Cruces High-School. Chihuahuan Desert Charities is proud to be the fiscal sponsor for DYGUP & Sustain and support their important work in the Las Cruces community.

Support the DYGUP & Sustain Program at Legacy Farm in Las Cruces by visiting ChihuahuanDesertCharities.org