Discuss the negative and positive aspects of the development of agriculture. Was it, or was it not the worst mistake in the history of the human race?
Agriculture is not just a way of growing food; it involves in whole spectrum of cultural changes and adaptations by early human communities. The demands and effects of practicing agriculture as a means of survival created a new kind of community life, with new opportunities and new problems for humanity.
For most of our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering wild animals and foraging wild plants and berries. The hunters-gatherers were able to adapt to virtually all the climate zones and environmental conditions as they find them, using what is already there. They hunt game - whatever kinds they can find, adapting their life style to the conditions they face. In the tropics they gather mainly plants resources for food, medicine, etc.
It is not unusual for them to use several hundred plant species. In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, they may force to rely more on hunting to survive. They move seasonally to optimize different sources of food as they become available. A very large area is necessary for this kind of life, but human use of the kind and on this scale has relatively little impact on the environment.
In hunting and gathering cultures, women usually do most of the gathering, while the men specialize in hunting. Other than this kind of gender specialization, there is little specialization of roles within the group. Hunter-gatherers tend to accumulate a large and intimate knowledge of their survival, dangers, food sources and opportunities. This knowledge is largely communal; it is shared by the group. They lived in a small, continuously moving community; there is little opportunity for economic or other kinds of specialization...