Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Global

The great dying, the Little Ice Age, and us

By Gwynne Dyer       

If the only Eurasians to reach the Americas had been peace-loving Spanish nuns—or peace-loving Chinese monks, for that matter—the Great Dying would have happened anyway.

When the tens of millions of native Americans died, the forests grew back on the land they used to farm. All those forests absorbed so much carbon dioxide that the average global temperature dropped, and what would otherwise have been a minor cyclical cooling became the Little Ice Age, writes columnist Gwynne Dyer. Photograph courtesy of Unsplash

LONDON, U.K.—The Black Death killed about 30 per cent of the European population in a few years in the middle of the 14th century. A century and a half later, the native people of the Americas were hit by half a dozen plagues as bad as the Black Death, one after another, and 95 per cent of them died. The plagues of the “Great Dying” had much less terrifying names like measles, influenza, diphtheria, and smallpox, but they were just as efficient at killing.

Explore, analyze, understand
Democracy, Terrorism and Killer Robots: Embassy News covers the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum
The Halifax International Security Forum is one of the world’s biggest gatherings of defence and security leaders.

Get the book
Spinning History: A Witness to Harper’s Canada and 21st Century choices
An unvarnished look at the Harper years and what lies ahead for Canadians

Get the book
Election cybersecurity: a comprehensive look at the threats and solutions ahead of 2019
Election cybersecurity concerns in Canada.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Agriculture Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Defence Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Environment
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Liberals’ Anthony Rota elected Speaker of the House

News|By Aidan Chamandy 12:57 PM ET
MPs used a ranked-ballot voting system to elect the new House Speaker.

‘Thou shalt be there,’ government whip tells MPs as high-stakes minority Parliament kicks off Thursday

News|By Palak Mangat 11:22 AM ET
In a minority Parliament, co-operation between parties is now an 'imperative, as opposed to something that we would try to do,' says Chief Government Whip Mark Holland.

‘A servant of the House’: MPs to elect Commons Speaker in early-morning ceremony

News|By Beatrice Paez
Incumbent House Speaker Geoff Regan says he expects MPs will be largely influenced by their peers' assessments of the candidates in casting their ballots for the new Speaker.

Political ties, not diplomatic bona fides needed for next Canadian envoy in D.C., says former ambassador

News|By Neil Moss
‘From a U.S. perspective, the relationship between the ambassador and the prime minister has to be extremely close,’ says Michael Kergin.

‘Let’s get on with the contest now’: chorus of prominent Conservatives calling for Scheer’s ouster continues to grow

News|By Mike Lapointe
But a Conservative source is decrying public criticism of Andrew Scheer's leadership, saying it will only create the kind of schisms that will set the party back and that former leader Stephen Harper worked to avoid.

Parliament security labour standoff nearing end of the road

Long-awaited collective agreements are finally being settled with the unions representing Parliament’s security officers, just in time for a new round of talks.

French envoy defends Macron’s NATO comments as ‘brave’

French ambassador Kareen Rispal says the 29-member alliance is in the midst of a political crisis and her president was recognizing that fact.

‘Small but mighty’: New Democrats say they’re up to the task as MPs pile on critic jobs

The 24-member team is Jagmeet Singh’s ‘first caucus,’ says MP Don Davies, and the group is ‘starting with a clean slate.’

Diversity, inclusion minister should act as ‘catalyst’ with cross-ministerial power, say advocates

'It is a weird irony that integration is being isolated this way,' says Anita Singh, while others say there’s an opportunity for the diversity, inclusion, and youth file to play a larger role in government.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.