The methods of preindustrial civilizations, with deforestation and agriculture, were never really sustainable, as they disrupted ecosystems and even affected local climates. The only way that the system, for instance, was sustainable was that they let the land go fallow for eight years after two years of crops, in order to let the damage heal before farmers repeated the cycle. Only when practices were intermittent, to allow ecosystems to recover somewhat, could they be called sustainable, but even then the idea is somewhat misleading. It was an ecosystem commandeered for human benefit at the expense of the original ecosystem’s denizens, and the practice never approached true abundance. Those civilizations were all mired in scarcity, with only about one person in a thousand living to a ripe old age, and only about “making it” economically (the potentate). In such a world of scarcity, life was often cheap, and virtually every preindustrial civilization had , from to to chattel slavery to becoming a human sacrifice to other forms.


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