Given the extreme weather we have been experiencing recently :here in southern California, insanely hot summers and back home in NY and NJ, unheard of hurricanes, climate change has been in the thoughts of many. Even folks who I know to be staunch deniers of climate change are rethinking their stance that perhaps we have had an impact on Mother Earth.
My interest in Meso-American culture has me linked to numerous blogs and I recently received this post claiming the great civilization of the Maya collapsed due to man made climate change which resulted in a “long catastrophic drought”. The Maya civilization as many know was massive , a complex web of city states ruled by various lord/kings. As power was brokered, each lord would vie with one another in building massive elaborate temples, palaces and public building, all with the intention of giving expression to their magnificence. The architecture, rubble and stone in construction was given a fine white stucco finish. When Cortez and his men first encountered the Aztec they were dazzled, but this magnificence came with a cost.
According to a NASA Science News article twenty trees were needed to heat the limestone in order to create one square meter of plaster. Given the massive scale of these structures and the tropical climate which demanded incessant maintenance, that’s a hell of a lot of dead trees.
All of this course sounds and feels familiar to our own increasingly desperate situation. Clinging to a fuel that is outmoded and toxic to a planet we claim we love. We treat this planet as a resource, not something to be revered.
The Maya have been idealized by many as having been more attuned to the gods of the natural world, yet by their hubris they ignored the divine pleas for mercy. Ignoring the pleas had serious consequence. I’m hoping against hope we can learn something from the Maya, sadly I fear the worse. Whereas the Maya left behind enchanted ruins I fear we will leave behind the shells of big-box stores, McMansions and endless freeway system going nowhere.
“C” is for Climate Change.
“C” is also for Cinteotl, a manifestation of the maize god. Usually depicted as a young man, golden in coloring and wearing a maize head-dress.
I stumbled upon an image of the young god with a distinct resemblance to Apollo. The statue is described as Huastec, 11th-13th c.A.D.
What is notable is his nudity, there are very few depiction of the human figure in its natural state in Meso-American art. Since I have a fondness for nudity he was a suitable model for my letter “C”.
Symbolism for life cut short played a factor as well, but mainly it was due to the fact that he was a comely young man.
I will be spending the remainder of my holiday catching up on readings and working a linoleum block (this time a Christian saint).
Until next time,
4 thoughts on ““C” is for Climate Change”
I had not heard about that theory of the collapse of Mayan civilization… and I love what you’ve done with that information, transforming it into this desolate, but amazing painting.
But hey, when the earth finally does shrug us off, there’ll be some nice ruins too I think. And all the cheap constructions of the past fifty years will probably not last as long as quality buildings, after all. Small comfort though, eh?
Anyway, happy American Thanksgiving all the same, and good luck on your lino.
I was thinking that as I was returning a purchase at a mega Office Depot, idly waiting in line, i was smugly satisfied that in time this will all be dust.
On such a note of cheeriness, sending forth gratitude from the Americas.
wow, i had never heard that about the mayans either, and what a bad omen.. but the image you have created is fabulous, the gold is perfect, along with that head at the bottom. immense post altogether–i am so, so curious about the missing bit of arm…?
Hello there, nice to hear from you and happy you like the painting. As per missing arm, I just love a good ruin!