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ENVS 303 YANG ZHENG OCT 11th, 2021 Lesson and self-examination on the drought of Murray Darlin Basin Throughout the long steam of human history, human had gone through various patterns of subsistence from foraging to pastoralism, horticulture, and agriculture. Human acquires their needed resources from nature and shapes the environment involuntarily or intentionally while the environment also shapes human society in its own way. Even though it seems that the modern society has less reliance on the nature as we don’t need to worry too much about the access to food, we must not ignore how related we are to nature still and always carry our reverence and appreciation for this environment; as we all know water can carry a boat, but it can also overturn it. Part I Brief description of the case study In this essay, I will be focusing on a national geographic case study of drought of the Murray Darlin Basin, where we will find out how it became a sputtering, surgically disfigured version from a flourishing ecosystem. The Murray Darlin basin——a vast semiarid plain about the size of Spain and France combined has its lifeline, which is the Murray River laid on. In Australians good old times, the Murray River has its network of billabongs, river red gums, Murray cod, and black swans, which are as affixed to the Australian ethos as the outback. (Draper, R. 2009) Yet the good times didn’t last long, as the Europeans descended the basin with their ambitions and machinery. People were immersed in the flourishment of city and didn’t realize how fragile they had turned the ecosystems into until they were awakened by the devastating drought. Two principles of SES legacy effects: “impacts of prior human-nature couplings on later conditions”(Liu et al, 2017) The audacity of farming in such an arid area was not readily apparent to Punturiero's grandfather, who had no education other than in how to grow an exquisite grape. But when the hell did his dad or granddad ever have to deal with a bloody seven-year drought? (what the early new Australians had done to the ecosystems has a legacy effect that it didn’t become observable until several generations) And more examples… Feedback loops 1.The ocean would rush in when the river ran low and then be pushed out by fresh water as the first hard rains drained down the Murray to the sea. Today the overallocation of irrigation water, coupled with the drought, has brought the river to a virtual standstill. So that the belea guered Murray can meet the sea, its mouth must be dredged around the clock. Without dredging, the mouth would silt up, cutting off fresh water to the lagoon ecosystem called The Coorong and to nearby Lake Alexandrina. (over allocation + drought make the water level run low and couldn’t flow to the sea, which will cut off water supply to other ecosystems, however, to prevent the silt, people need to allocate more water which intensify over allocation) 2. over allocation lowered the water level which causes the fields to salt up, so people used salt interceptors, which is achieved by pump more water (More examples) Human activity (over allocation) (Increase) nature feedback (soil degradation, fields salt up, decreased water resources) Relationships between the environmental conditions and two other aspects of their social/cultural system Subsistence strategy & the type, and quantity of material possessions “Edging up to the northern Coorong lagoon, Jones reaches into the water to collect his gill nets. Among his catch there is not a single silver perch or Murray cod or bony bream. The salty water has done them in. Only carp survive. Dozens of carp, which did not even exist in the lower lakes a quarter century ago, and whose presence signals the demise of the freshwater environment” (Draper, R 2009). Under the effect of over allocation and drought, the Lake Alexandrina and the Coorong couldn’t receive enough fresh from the Murray River, which make them turned into salt lakes. Many species who rely their livings on the fresh water were extinctive, but carps. While some fishermen can adapt themselves to the changes by selling carps, for the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal people, the disappearance of black swan eggs, freshwater mussels, and other sacred totems deprived themselves from the spiritual and physical nourishment (Draper, R 2009). subsistence strategy & people’s belief Since when our human benefit from the natural resources blinded by the benefits from over allocation and lost their appreciation to the nature? When Mick Punturiero tried to warn the local officials that they are poorly managing the natural resources, he got the response that “Mick, you can't control progress" (Draper, R 2009). Human society might seem to be progressing, but mentally, we are backsliding as those precious characteristics we have seen on the aboriginals are diminishing. “In the cosmology of the Kwakwaka’wakwand other indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast, clams have been regarded as having families and societies equivalent to those of humans, and with their own abilities and needs… Thus, humans maintained and enhanced the habitats of culturally-preferred species, influenced not only by general knowledge of the species and ecosystems, but guided by notions of reciprocity and responsibility to the species on which they depended.” (Deur et al, 2015). The indigenous people introduced their historic clam gardens to the world, which had kept its productive for thousands of years and still flourish. The nature is more than a place for them to gathering resources, rather it is their “contracts, [their] deed to the land like the middens, the shells, the black soils, and the closely modified trees” (Andrew, 2013). It is because of their respect and indispensable connections to nature; they know better than us that human don’t own the natural resources exclusively and there are other species who depend their livings on it. As a result of well maintenance and sustainably management by the clan or lineage, the clam gardens were never over harvest, and the reciprocal relationship built between human society and the nature benefit every specie in the ecosystem. External environmental factor Besides the human depletion of the water resources, the human-induced climate change plays an external environmental factor and put its pressure on the drainage of the Murray Darling basin. Under the effect of global warming, the lands tended to receive less precipitation during summertime and more precipitation during wintertime, which is disturbing for people to sow their crops. It is also indisputable that “‘[there has been] a three-quarters of a degree [Celsius] increase in temperature over the past 15 years, and that's driving a lot more evaporation from our water.’” (Draper, R 2009). As human brought more changes to the nature, the climate change became more influential. Though the drought is unpredictable, the optimistic Australians were actually indicated by the erratic precipitation that the climate is changing, and they could’ve prepared themselves better for devastating drought. Conclusion “The hard lesson of Australia's dry run is that the country's jaunty boosterism no longer suffices as the way forward” (Draper, R 2009). As the human civilization is progressing, we shall never forget it is all based on the harmony with this nature. We shall never think the human society can be independent from the nature and we should always keep that modesty with us, just like the aboriginals did. The tragic story of the Murray Darling basin might not be the last one we hear but it’s not too late for us to change our attitude towards the environment under this swiftly changing climate. Part II Paragraph 1: Intro and thesis statement. Paragraph 2-3: Describe the case study group and two traits of human-nature coupled systems principles exhibited by your case study, using evidence from Liu et al, the National Geographic case study, and other class reading/films. Paragraph 4-5: Describe relationships between the environmental conditions and two other aspects of their social/cultural system, again drawing on reading/film. Use specific examples from readings/film. Paragraph 6-7: Describe one or more external environmental or social factors that are putting pressure on your case study group and how the dynamic socio-ecological system is changing over time as a result. Use specific examples from readings/film. Conclusion: Reiterating your thesis statement and wrap up the essay. Works Cited Andrew Elizaga. (18 Aug 2013). Mysteries of Ancient Clam Gardens [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGn4yd15_I&ab_channel=AndrewElizaga Deur, D., Dick, A., Recalma-Clutesi, K., Turner, N. (2015). Kwakwaka'wakw "Clam Gardens": motive and agency in traditional northwest coast mariculture, Human Ecology. DOI 10.1007/s10745-015-9743-3 Draper, R. (2009, April). Australia's dry run: Murray-Darling basin. National Geographic. (Article text only .pdf on file). http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/08/kamchatka-salmon/quammen-text (Links to an external site.). (industrial agriculture) Liu, J., Dietz, T., Carpenter, S., Alberti, M., Folke, C., Moran, E., Pell, A., Deadman, P., Kratz, T., Lubchenco, J., Ostrom, E., Ouyang, Z., Prvencher, W., Redman, C., Schneider, S., Taylor, W. (2007). Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science, 317, 1513-1516.