Climate Adaptation in the Kalahari

The !Kung tribesmen of the Kalahari have a novel way of adapting to drought and climate change. If a group are faced with resource collapse they switch from hunting, foraging and other regular tasks to the production of gifts. Gradually as their food runs out and their gifts are finished the group disperses to visit relatives elsewhere, where resources are more plentiful. Upto 40% of a persons possessions have been found to be gifts. In this way the !Kung avoid disaster and maintain social harmony. What a brilliantly simple concept.

This, and more pearls of wisdom, can be found in the excellent book, After the Ice:A global Human History 20000-5000 BC by Steven Mithen of Reading University in the UK. His book makes my top ten favourites.

(There is a lot of information about Climate Change adaptation in Prof. Mithen’s book: in most cases actually it is about failure to adapt resulting in societal collapse).

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