A theory that the Mayan societal structure died out as a result of deforestation is gaining traction. For a long time, the leading theory on the disappearance of the folks on Easter Island has also been deforestation. On Easter Island, the story goes, the islanders used all the trees that could be harvested for fishing vessels and lost a major source of food when all the trees were harvested. The battle for the last of the resources there must have been intense. In the coming year, we'll probably hear a bit more about the Mayans and their calendar that ends in the year 2012 -- with some people saying that it means the end of the world is nigh. I'm not too worried about the end of the world. Last year we had that one doomsday proselytizer who said it would come on a specific day, then the day passed, and he picked another day that passed with no one noticing. I actually found myself pulling for him a little bit on that second day. Maybe we could get a rust-colored rain that looked like blood at least. But no, the world is still here, and I suspect we'll see 2013 as well. As long as the trees make it, too.
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