Argumentative Essay on Agriculture
What would life be like today if our ancestors hadn't adopted the practice of farming? This question may seem like it has an obvious answer. Most people would probably assume that lour lives would be harder and more stressful if we had to hunt for our meat and gather wild plants for food instead of picking it up at the store. However, observations of fossils and artifacts reveal something different. Remains from the Neolithic Period (the new stone age, beginning about 10,000 years ago) reveal that the adoption of agriculture among many societies did not have a positive effect on overall human health or the environment.
As people switched over to the process of agriculture, the amounts of food they had became more abundant and predictable. This meant that there was more food to support more people. Therefore, the human population dramatically increased during this time period. However, having more people is not necessarily a positive result. As the population increased, there is evidence of a decline in overall human health. Large amounts of people interacting with one another caused many diseases to spread. If we hadn't of adopted the agricultural way of life, maybe we wouldn't have as many diseases threatening us today.
When people started to farm, they hunted less and so their diets changed tremendously. When people were hunting and gathering natural wild plants, they were getting a well balanced diet. However, when they limited their diets to mostly the foods which they were farming, their bodies suffered. People became weaker and the growth rate slowed down. There is even evidence of times when there were famines among these people because of a lack of crops.
In addition to the negative consequences on humans, agriculture greatly affected the environment. When land is farmed on, it alters the natural growth of plants on that land. Wild plants which would naturally grow in those areas no longer could, and many of them probably don't exist anymore because of this. Those wild plants may have been very nutritious and useful, but because of the development of the agricultural system we'll never know. Humans deciding what to grow and where to grow it also greatly harmed the balances of natural nutrients in the soil. When the soil is plowed and cleared a lot, it isn't as nutritious and plants won't grow as well in it.
The agricultural societies of the Neolithic period became very individualized. People became more independent and levels of power emerged among them. Eventually, cities and states like the ones we know today arose. Still, the agricultural societies of this ultimately collapsed. If the people of this time hadn't adopted the agricultural system, our lives and environment might have been much healthier.
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