Two types of handicap can be postulated. The first is of climatic features that are disadvantageous to productive human behaviour. These can include prevailing wind directions bringing sultry, humid or chilled air; natural radiation intensity, notably that of sunlight; wind-borne endemic microorganisms which give rise to local diseases and dysfunctions; unstable or unfavourable air pressures; and possibly, adverse geomagnetic interactions with the atmosphere. The second type of climatic feature that presents a handicap to development is that which interferes with sustainable agricultural and industrial production. Notably this includes recurring typhoons, hurricanes and electrical discharges, as well as excessive, flood-causing rains short growing seasons. High levels of rainfall in conjunction with heat, and persistent heat giving rise to drought or perpetual aridity, are also handicaps.
Climate constitutes a major difference between developing and developed countries. Almost all the former are situated in the tropical, sub-tropical, or arctic zones. It is a fact that all successful industrialization in modern times has taken place in the temperate zones. This cannot be entirely an accident of history but must arise from special handicaps, directly or indirectly related to climate.
There are few countries whose climate in all regions at all times is inhospitable to development. As for the temperate zone being 'best', it would be interesting to ascertain the climates of Summer, Dilmun, Harappa and Jericho when they were the ancient centers of civilization. The only reason technology was able to advance in the North was because the Europeans, from the tenth century up through the Crusades, were able to plunder the learning of the Islamic world and the Byzantine empire. India and China also gave up their technological secrets on the eve of the so-called Industrial Revolution in the North. All these borrowings are never acknowledged. Moreover, industrialization is not synonymous with development. Many tropical nations such as the Mayas, Incas; and those of the 'Indies' had great wealth before the Industrial Revolution. All this was plundered as well. Today's less developed countries are not eager to imitate the societal aberrations that the temperate zone's industrializations have caused; and many have found that their climates have good seasons for tourism and are adequate for development in other suitable ways.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
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