Why the Incas offered up child sacrifices | Science | The Observer
[Kim MacQuarrie] The Incas thus built their empire within the Pacific's "ring of fire" where volcanoes periodically erupt. Because of the colliding plates, violent earthquakes are common, destroying cities and towns. In addition, the empire was beset by the climatic havoc wreaked by El Niños every seven years, resulting in savage floods that disrupted food supplies.
In response to such natural phenomena, the Incas resorted to religion.
The Incas did their best to fathom what, at the time, was unfathomable – the violent, unpredictable catastrophes of nature which, in some cases, had ended cultures that preceded them. To their credit, the Incas did their best to ensure the survival of their people and empire by paying close attention to nature and doing their best to use every means at their disposal, including human sacrifice, to gain control over it.
The irony is that, more than 500 years after the Spaniards put an end to perhaps the most spectacular empire in the New World, not only are Andean and worldwide glaciers shrinking at unprecedented rates as the Earth heats up, altering and damaging native ecosystems, but the new cultures that have replaced the Incas seem apathetic, at best, in making any kind of sacrifice in order to gain control over a potentially self-created environmental disaster.