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Jared Diamond Quotes


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Take air quality in the United States today: It's about 30 percent better than it was 25 years ago, even though there are now more people driving more cars.
 

Tasmanian history is a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction - namely, complete isolation from other humans for 10,000 years.
 

Tasmanians actually abandoned some technologies that they brought with them from Australia and that persisted on the Australian mainland. For example, bone tools and the practice of fishing were both present in Tasmania at the time that the land bridge was severed, and both disappeared from Tasmania by around 1500 B.C.
 

Technology causes problems as well as solves problems. Nobody has figured out a way to ensure that, as of tomorrow, technology won't create problems. Technology simply means increased power, which is why we have the global problems we face today.
 

Technology has to be invented or adopted.
[Technology]
 

The broadest pattern of history - namely, the differences between human societies on different continents - seems to me to be attributable to differences among continental environments, and not to biological differences among peoples themselves.
 

The Indian civilizations of Central and North America remained entirely without pack animals; and it took thousands of years for the corn that evolved in Mexico's climate to become modified into a corn adapted to the short growing season and seasonally changing day-length of North America.
 

The main thing that gives me hope is the media. We have radio, TV, magazines, and books, so we have the possibility of learning from societies that are remote from us, like Somalia. We turn on the TV and see what blew up in Iraq or we see conditions in Afghanistan.
 

The rate of human invention is faster, and the rate of cultural loss is slower, in areas occupied by many competing societies with many individuals and in contact with societies elsewhere.
 

The southward advance of native African farmers with Central African crops halted in Natal, beyond which Central African crops couldn't grow - with enormous consequences for the recent history of South Africa.
 

The United States has long thought of itself as the land of infinite plenty, and historically we did have abundant resources. But now we are gradually exhausting our fisheries, our topsoil, our water. On top of that, we're coming to the end of world resources.
 

Thousands of years ago, humans domesticated every possible large wild mammal species fulfilling all those criteria and worth domesticating, with the result that there have been no valuable additions of domestic animals in recent times, despite the efforts of modern science.
 

Twenty years ago, you might have been pessimistic and said there's no hope. But these days, some of our very biggest companies are acting remarkably cleanly. And in some cases, although not all cases, the CEOs are the driving forces behind that.
 

Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial in tipping their outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning, and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.
 

Until the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 B.C., all humans on all continents were still living as Stone Age hunter/gatherers.
 

We can't manipulate some stars while maintaining other stars as controls; we can't start and stop ice ages, and we can't experiment with designing and evolving dinosaurs.
 

We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about.
 

We're uncomfortable about considering history as a science. It's classified as a social science, which is considered not quite scientific.
 

What did the last Easter Islander say as he chopped down the last tree? The Easter Islanders didn't have anthropologists.
 

When I visited Nike and asked whether they were using organic and sustainable cotton, they told me they were careful not to use too much organic cotton, because they knew that Patagonia needs to use organic cotton, and they didn't want to drive Patagonia out of the market.
 


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