Twentieth century, with its wars, rapid birth rate in the underdeveloped part of the world, and rise of standard in the second half, began to absorb natural resources at an incomparably faster rate than any period before it.
The pouring of the humans from villages into the cities led to the separation of man from nature.
He was fascinated with new technologies, with concrete and plastics, genetically modified food…
Therefore, logically, as a result of this process appeared a fear of the future, from which, obviously, we began to steal irreversibly in advance.
The bottom started to appear in the bottomless well.
There was a fear that natural resources will be exhausted.
“Acid rain”, groundwater pollution, large oil spills… They all warned man that he should be more considerable to nature.
As man is a being of action, soon many environmental agencies and organizations started to grow like mushrooms after rain.
When we look at the present time and the work of many non-profit environmental associations, it seems to us that our generation is the first to care so much about nature, that our generation “invented” ecology.
But the old valuable books that lie at the foundations of today’s world have long recording the awareness of people about the need to preserve and conserve nature for generations to come.
If we look at ancient times, we will find many indications of the necessity of ecological behavior.
Namely, the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead taught that anyone who cuts a tree must plant a new one.
And the Bible, the foundation upon which all the later books of our civilization lie, says that the earth cannot be exploited indefinitely, that we will exhaust it so that we will not benefit from it.
The Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament, provides advice for the successful coexistence of a man with his land:
“For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest“.
In fact, some later models of tillage are the result of precisely these basic settings of the agricultural system, albeit with a slightly different time rhythm. Primarily, this refers to two models of land cultivation in the Middle Ages: the two-field agriculture of the early Middle Ages and the three-fold agriculture of the developed Middle Ages.
When it comes to Middle Ages, it is common to think of it as the time of the general decline of the communal system, when some hygienic offerings of the Roman era, such as aqueducts and public baths, became a long time past. We imagine plague-stricken cities, streets full of corpses, cities infested with rats and all-out dirt.
When we think of Middle Ages, we think in stereotypes, we imagine general hunger, peasants without any rights, women treated worse than domestic animals, nobles portrayed as degenerate drunks, lecherous and generally amoral caricatures, we imagine bloody swords and wars in which human life was worth nothing – in a word, a life without any dignity.
Such a medieval era is certainly not the time modern man would like to live in, much less the time in which one could expect to find clues of ecology.
However, many medieval statutes also referred to environmental themes.
This should not be surprising.
The Middle Ages also paints a different picture. From the laws of the medieval time, we can extract articles showing that the medieval man was not indifferent to the world around him and felt the discomfort of living in such conditions.
Some medieval statues have provisions which apply to the management of common pastures and forests, that were aimed to decrease exploitation of the land. This was ensured by determining the order of use with articles ensuring protection of pastures and forests against other livestock.
Some statutes also required additional measures to preserve plant saplings.
Dijana Stolac, who analysed medieval statutes in Croatia claims that many determined at what time of the year logging was prohibited in forests. Some statutes also instituted prohibitions for grazing in forests and hayfields.
This means that it was not possible to cut down the trees when timber was needed, some medieval communities planned their logging activities to protect their forests from uncontrolled woodcutting, they planned it in accordance with the vegetation pace.
We also see that even before The Middle Ages, Plato expressed concerns about excessive deforestation in ancient Greece.
This all shows us that we are not the only generation that pondered about sustainability.