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,