Post 301 – by Gautam Shah
Human body responds to environment in many different ways. These changes are physiological, biological and behavioural. Environmental affectations are traumatic, stressful, or just discomforts, and are a long term, seasonal and passing. The traumatic changes due to acute stress, may cause genetic changes over generations, but most leave their imprint on psychological processes. The traumatic stresses, restrict our capacity to adjust to the environment. Human body has capacity adopt the environment in spite of the stresses. The changes or acclamatory adjustments are met within the mechanisms of our body such as respiratory, metabolic, glandular, etc. Small temporary adjustments are temporary discomforts that are partly met by body mechanisms or by changes in our lifestyle. Changes in lifestyles include task shifting and rescheduling within or around the abode, re-calibrating the built form (shading devices, opening systems), altering the clothing, remoulding the social behaviour, and redefining the dietary preferences.
The terrain and its materials were the prime resources in developing an abode. Human body can adjust to environment of a place by emulating the flora-fauna, and if any, practices of earlier inhabitants. These models have made it possible to develop human habitats in all geological and climatic conditions across the world. The climatic behaviour is cyclical, and that offers immense hope and opportunity for adaptation. Pre-emptive actions, fore-planning, storage management, are instinctive activities in most species. Human beings have an additional capacity that is to mould the past heritage to new situations. Migrants have moulded their traditions, for the new place, but have been successful in conserving their original identity. Very often the conserved identities are not functional, but just denotive and perfunctory.
In the short term adjustments, we can accept a wide range of temperature, humidity and other variations. We need both the time and technologies for such compromises. One has to choose between slower foot or road travel, and bear the travel fatigue while gradually adjusting to issues of high altitudes, or drop down via an aircraft without fatigue but face breathing and cold weather problems. People have different body make-up, endowing them with specific capacities for bearing the environment. Through training a human being can achieve extra ordinary proficiencies. For astronauts the training in gravity less environment, high spinning capsules, upside down working, etc. equips them for predictable as well as crisis environmental conditions.
Several new technologies have been developed since prehistoric times to deal with normal and acutely different environments. These include, work-schedules, body training, psychological counseling, dietary regimen, and technological aids such as clothing, work spaces, social contact mechanisms.
Fire, abode, clothing, selective foods, family structure, means of communication and expression, arts and crafts are some of the means that help us to improvise our existing environments or occupy new territories. These means and methods have reduced the need to evolve biologically for new or changed conditions. Short periods of acclimatization aided by technological aids also reduce the time for reversal of conditions.