Relation Between Colonialism and Climate Change

Relation Between Colonialism and Climate Change
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Although it is common knowledge that people have been causing climate change since the industrial revolution, their influence on the planet's climate actually dates back much further.

According to a 2018 study, a mini-ice age occurred during the period of the Americas' colonization, which killed 90% of all indigenous people who lived there before the advent of the Europeans.

Around 60 million people are thought to have lived in the Americas before the advent of the Europeans, which is comparable to the population of South Africa in 2022.

The Europeans conducted huge genocides that killed about 55 million people and brought several illnesses that destroyed millions of indigenous people.

But how does this relate to a mini-ice age and climate change?

Due to the loss of all of these indigenous people who engaged in agriculture and destroyed wood for it, agriculture was no longer practiced on such a vast scale, allowing the American forests to repopulate. Forests reclaimed over 56 million acres that had been utilized for agriculture.

In order to complete their photosynthesis, these trees became a significant sink for carbon dioxide as a result of this significant increase in the number of trees. In other words, within a few years, many millions of new trees started absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. An estimated 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide were taken out of the atmosphere during this time.

Carbon dioxide has a greenhouse effect; the more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the higher the planet's temperature, and the less carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the lower the planet's temperature.

On a geological scale, the sudden increase in the number of trees on Earth over a short period of time was a very abrupt occurrence that led to a huge drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which caused the planet's temperature to drop by around 2°C in a short period of time.

Although 2ºC may not seem like much, the globe is now working to prevent the earth from rising by more than 1.5ºC in comparison to pre-industrial eras in order to prevent catastrophic occurrences that could alter the course of human history.