The cause of the drought is unknown. But it's effects were made worse by overpopulation, warfare and bad farming practices. It's almost as if Malthus was right.
Maybe he was / is. But one thing's for sure: The Mayan's factories and SUV's had no impact on their demise.
And this is not some isolated cultural incident. The Egyptians shared an almost identical fate 2000 years earlier (in their case, it was the Romans that came in and exploited their weakened state). But yeah, the Egyptians weren't industrialized either.
In more recent times, it is assumed that Bubonic Plauge, was brought on by increased trade. That trade was facilitated by optimal warmer weather globally. This made for great food production (more CO2 in the air). Of course, the rats and fleas loved the warmer weather too. So despite global trade and abundant food production, it was the first time in history that human population dropped globally. Still, no SUVs.
I don't know about you, but I'm seeing a pattern here.
A few centuries later, there was a "mini ice age" where temperatures dropped 10 to 20 degrees for decades. Scientists now believe that this climactic activity is linked to sun spot activity (called a Mandaur Minimum). They're cyclical, and we're due for another cool down very soon.
Here's my point. I don't care if you worship your Global Warming God. You can believe whatever you want. My point is that the climate will change regardless / despite anything that we do. And, it may just kill us. Trading in your SUV for a Prius is nonsense. As far as that "We're making it worse" trope, give it a rest. Most climactic cycles have shifted 20 degrees or more. Modern "models" put our impact at two degrees... over a century. If we're heading towards another Mandaur Minimum, I'd appreciate it a little warmer. Lemme buy you a tank for your truck.
To me, it's like this: Our society is a semi-buoyant life raft. Occasionally, we get swamped with a big wave, and take on a lot of water. We survive, but sometimes we lose a person (or two). Yet, between waves, some fools are trying to sell us thimbles to bail-out our boat. AND, they get mad if you spit in the boat because you're making it less buoyant.
It's real simple. Don't foul-up the boat we're all in. But don't think you can actually control this flimsy craft we drift on. Our time is coming soon, just like the Egyptians and the Mayans. Someone will pick up the pieces, and life will go on. That is, unless The Yellowstone Caldera blows. Or another giant meteor impacts us.
Regardless, dust off your copy of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, and say a prayer to Michael Mann. Because you know your fate is not in your own hands, despite how many carbon credits you buy.
But, if it makes you feel good to accuse those who don't agree with your beliefs as ignorant, go right ahead. Just remember, we're all in the same boat.