Nature Awareness #1

Describe the customs of two or three Indo-European cultures regarding the land and natural resources, and compare and contrast these practices with the prevailing modern attitudes. (minimum 300 words)

Greece is a country surrounded by mountains, thin soil, and water, which prevented some use of their natural surroundings in regards to farming or living off the land. Less than 1/5 of Greek landmass is suitable for farming. They did produce some crops such as barley, grapes, and of course olive trees, but their terrain was very limiting. Instead of focusing on land farming as their main source of income, the Greeks focused on trade via ship and fish farming, which allowed them to flourish and spread their influence further than if by land. Their mountainous terrain, however, did allow them to mine riches such as gold, silver, and iron ore.

Today Greece still has a fairly large production of grain in its agricultural economy. Most of the agricultural land as we know it is owned by people who came to work the land in the early 19th century. As new generations have taken over and split the land between kin, the agricultural base gets smaller and smaller. Land for grazing is public access, but most herders are required to pay a fee for grazing rights.

Further north, the German culture had a more obscure method of farming the land, in that no one really knows for sure whether their system of farming their fields into “strips” comes from. Naturally they had more farm-able land than the Greeks, but eventually nobility shook up the land ownership from the peasants and forced most of them onto small enclosed parcels of land. The Germans mainly farmed cereal grains and herded cattle around the North Sea.

Germany was also heavily forested and most of their buildings were made of wood because of such. However, since wood did not last long and eventually rotted, they built most of their graves out of stone within the ground, much like tombs. Germany also had a high value of Iron, which made the land very desirable to the Romans.

In modern days, Germany is a very eco-conscious country. It is committed to the Kyoto Protocol and programs such as recycling, biodiversity, etc, even though it still runs high carbon emissions comparable to the United States.

One thing I like about Greece or many of the European countries really, is that they are very traditional in their way of thinking. They like to pass on and preserve the knowledge of their ancestors, their traditions, because they are proud of the lineage and their way of life. I find this is the same across many countries when it comes to the land-workers. I think the older countries, such as those in Europe, have more of a chance at fighting corporate conglomerates because of simply how traditional those countries are. Whereas Americans feed the corporate conglomerates that give little care to their environmental impact.

(Word Count: 465)

Weber, Max. “The Agricultural Organization and the Problem of Agrarian Communism.” General Economic History. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

Weiner, Tom. “Germania.” Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

“Agriculture in Ancient Greece.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

“The Ancient Greek World.” Penn Museum – Penn Museum. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

“Culture of Greece – History, People, Clothing, Traditions, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family.” Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

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