To avenge Humbaba's murder and the destruction of the forest, the gods cursed Gilgamesh and his people. One Sumerian writer mourned that "the earth turned white. It was one of our first stories about environmental destruction-in this case, a salt buildup from irrigation that turned the fields to desert.
The histories of most ancient civilizations carry similar stories of when their god or gods turned against the people and millions died because of environmentally destructive practices.
If Gilgamesh's poet were to write the "Epic" today, it might go something like this:
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