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Man's Advance in
of Being Comfort
able Even Cold Zones
Live in the
belt Nature offers few free gifts, but she recompenses man for the sweat of his brow and for his exercise of self-control and forethought. She braces him for labor and does not break down his habits of industry with enervating heat or a long benumbing winter.
Significant is the migration within historic time of the major centers of human energy away from the warm belt. When the curtain of history rises the brilliant foci are in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia and India. During the classical period the peninsulas of the Mediterranean are the brightest spots. In the Middle Ages northern Italy, France and Germany house the Most Stim- busiest hives. Modern times have seen Holland, England, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, New Zealand, and Argentina come to the fore. One cause of this secular movement of civilization toward the inclement climates is the development of the arts of conquering cold, which permits man to avail himself more and more of the stimulus afforded by the bracing winter and the sharp seasonal changes of the temperate zone. Had the art of cooling kept pace with the art of heating the story might have been different. Ever since he invented fire and clad himself in skins, man has been in the way of invading the harsher climes; but only our own time has seen the beginning of a technique of cooling which may yet enable him to conquer the tropics instead of succumbing to them.
The People of the Tropics Are Always
Ruled from the Temperate
CLIMATE AND POLITICS
In the tropics there is no real self-government nor is there prospect of it. The natives of the hot humid zone lack the energy and self-control to provide themselves with such government as they need. If, as is almost inevitable, they fall under the hand of powers in the temperate zone, their white residents constitute an upper caste and become the real rulers. The natives, although an immense majority, have little or no voice in their own government. Moreover, the white rulers tend to lose in time the democratic standards and ideals they may have brought with them and to gravitate toward the level of the natives rather than lift them to their own high plane.
Climate, no doubt, is the key to many of the invasions and rial Drift" conquests which have bent the current of history again and again. Peoples living at ease in the warm lowlands have been
overrun by hardier races bred in the more rigorous climates farther north or higher up. In time the invaders themselves become enervated and succumb to the onslaught of another people from a harsh environment. The descent of the Aryans into India, the conquest of the Chinese by Mongols and Manchus, the recurrent barbarian invasions of Greece and Italy, the southward movement of Toltecs and Aztecs in Mexico, the northward pressure of Kaffirs and Patagonians, the absorption of Africa into European "spheres of influence," illustrate the equatorward drive from the less kindly climates.1
RELIGION AND ENVIRONMENT
Ideas of a
It Is Fa
Climate and scene write themselves clearly into the middle close stages of religion. After the stage of fetichism religion appears as a means of accounting for and controlling those natural phenomena which seem most to affect human life. The mysterious annual rise of the Nile was a matter of life and death to the people of Egypt, so the adoration of the Nile became a part of their religion. On the lofty plateaus of the Central Andes where it is always cold, sun-worship was quite natural. In ancient India the chief god was, of course, Indra the rain-giver. On the other hand, in Egypt the Satan was Typhon, the malevolent deity that sent the parching wind, while in India the Satan was Vritra, who holds back the rain. In Norway the evil gods were the frost giants and the mountains.
"In Norse mythology," says Whitbeck, "heaven was a place of warmth and hell, a place of cold and mist, but in the religions of Palestine and Arabia hell is a place of heat-eternal fire. To the Arab of the desert paradise was dreamed of as an oasis, or a garden, always having flowing water, shade trees, and fruit." To the ancient Hebrews, a settled people surrounded by marauding desert tribes, walls were the symbol of safety and hence heaven or the "New Jerusalem" is a walled city with gates of precious stones and streets of gold.
"Whether a people conceive of heaven as a place of eternal rest or as a garden with shade and flowing water, or as a happy hunting ground, or a walled city or a great hall like the Norse
R DeC. Ward, "Climate," Ch. VIII.
Whitbeck, "Religion and Environment," The Geogprahical Review, April, 1918.
Origin of tions of and Hell
na of Nature
Valhalla where those who die in battle continue to fight for Odin, will naturally depend on what that particular people regards as the acme of happiness; and this in turn will depend upon the special kinds of discomfort, privation, unhappiness, want, and suffering to which that people is subjected — in short the adverse elements of its environment." "
Both Greek and Norse mythologies sprang from old Aryan gies in the sky worship. But Greek mythology turned on the recurrence of day and night, while in Norway, where the contrast of the seasons is far more dramatic than in Greece, the mythology turned on the alternation of winter and summer. When the Aryans, a pastoral people, entered India their chief deity was Dyaus (sky); Indra, his son, the rain-giver, was of minor rank. But after they turned farmers and became vitally interested in rainfall, Dyaus shrank to a secondary deity and Indra took the highest place. No wonder Keary concludes "the creed of a people is always greatly dependent upon their position on this earth, upon the scenery amid which their life is passed and the natural phenomena to which they become habituated; that the religion of men who live in woods will not be the same as that of the dwellers in wide open plains; nor the creed of those who live under an inclement sky, the sport of storms and floods, the same as the religion of men who pass their lives in sunshine and calm air." 4
Bizarre and Unnatural Types
SEX RELATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
Sex relations bear witness at times to the power of the environment. The inhabitants of an infertile mountain mass or plateau are ever threatened by overpopulation. Fear of this may establish the custom of late marriage or send a large part of the adults into monasteries, as we find in Thibet. The institution of polyandry, so repugnant to the jealous instincts of the male, Mountains nevertheless appears quite frequently among mountain peoples as a means of avoiding the further division of plots so small that already each barely supports a family.
Denizens of Inhospitable
and of Small Remote
On islets (e.g., Polynesia) there is soon no more room and the necessity of arresting human increase is obvious to all. Hence infanticide becomes prevalent and in some cases is even
8 Whitbeck, op. cit., p. 321.
4" Outlines of Primitive Belief," p. 325.
enforced by law. Marriage takes the form of polyandry or perhaps an elaborate system of prostitution springs up. The result is a breaking down of sex morals and a decay of the finer sentiments of the family. Moreover, the constant dread of overpopulation causes a low value to be set on human life manifesting itself in neglect of the aged, cannibalism, human sacrifice, slaughter in warfare and a free use of capital punishment.
IS THE POWER OF ENVIRONMENT GROWING?
As society progresses does man become less dependent on his grographical environment or more dependent? Some hold for the latter. The roving tribe is hardly more attached to the land than the tumble weed of the prairie. But civilized men strike root deep into the earth. They clear, level, drain, fence, plant, Edge, cut roads, sink shafts, canalize streams, build levees, dam vers, and in a thousand ways entwine themselves with a partular land, from which they cannot be dislodged save by a cataclysm.
If it be held that at least steam transportation and commerce
NATURE AND GOVERNMENT
Late, if at
Nature is no mean factor in determining the political destiny of a people. The creation and maintenance of irrigation canals calls for cooperation and for this reason high political organization first appears along rivers traversing deserts like the Nile, the Euphrates and the Riobamba. Along the Hoang-Ho in China the necessity of controlling the flood waters seems to have forced an early development of the state. Among agricultural very people in an open plain, a strong government soon develops Mounpartly because the people desire protection from hungry swooping Country hill tribes, partly because the law-breaker has no safe refuge to fly to, and there is no natural barrier to shelter local resistance. On the other hand, in mountain country like the Scottish Highlands, Corsica, Albania, Macedonia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan, natural barriers split up the people into petty groups each independent of the others. Only late, and generally in consequence of subjugation by an outside power, do highlanders emerge from a condition of chronic intestinal warfare, brigandage, and lawlessness. Switzerland is one of the rare instances of mountain dwellers attaining political unity of their own free will.
velops Early in a
but as Con
ing Less Dependent
More It Is
than Phys riers, that
emancipate men from their local environment, it may be demurred that locality never left a sharper impress on economic life than it does to-day. Formerly a community had to diversify its production in order to provide for its wants. But cheap carriage sets a community free to import everything it requires and to concentrate its labor upon the one industry in which its locality has the greatest advantage. Whatever be its best profitraising cranberries, oyster-tonging, celery growing, turpentine gathering or digging iron ore it gives itself up to it. And since occupations leave their own stamp on character, e.g., horse-trading, vine-growing, gold-mining, etc.—the dominant industry marks the whole life of the community, so that more than formerly it is moulded by its immediate environment.
As consumers, on the other hand, men free themselves from the limitations of their locality and draw upon the whole world. Amid Alaskan snows the miner enjoys tropical fruits, tea from China, coffee from Brazil, sugar from Cuba. Besides, if he likes, he may read poetry inspired by palm trees and coral islands, listen to music that takes its motif from shepherd's pipe or temple bells, and enter imaginatively into the life and thoughts of any group of men on the globe.
MAN'S SLOW EMANCIPATION FROM GEOGRAPHY
Whatever be the conclusion as to the economic life, there can be no doubt that as man advances in civilization he withdraws himself more and more from the lordship of geography. Man has pierced, dug, hewn, dredged, and blasted away not a few of the natural features which divide him from other men. Of water barriers he has made liquid highways. On the wide seas he goes about at will in defiance of wave, trade wind, current, tempest, and icefloe. He rushes the desert in a few hours with an iron camel which easily carries fifty times the fodder it consumes. Now that he is leaping into aerial highways, he disdains the rivers, mountain chains, wastes, jungles, swamps, and tundras which once shut communities in so many cells. More and more, the obstacles to the fellowship and mutual aid of peoples and races are found in the human mind rather than in Nature.
A religion springs up bearing a deep impress from a particular scene. Elsewhere one springs up with a different stamp. Here one is born with a pastoral twist, and there one with an agri