In The Sparrow, the research expedition from Earth to Rakhat changed the planet’s life in numerous ways. Each of the changes had both positive and negative effects, but the author suggests that the cumulative effect was negative. The overall catalyst for change was simply the fact that aliens from another planet arrived on Rakhat. As its inhabitants could no longer believe that they were unique and alone in the universe, their worldview was destabilized. With the people now open to new ideas, the delicate balance of power was destroyed.
Among many new ideas and technologies that the earthlings brought with them, the most powerful catalyst for change was the transition to horticulture. The earthlings’ gardening quickly sparked a change that on Earth had been a transition over thousands of years .The increased food production had multiple ripple effects, including greater infant survival. The research team members saw this as a benefit to the Runa people, but they failed to realize that there was a desired maximum population. The babies would only survive a short time, not long enough to grow up. The Rakhat people’s fear of overpopulation led to infanticide as an attempt to regulate population growth, thus endangering the Runa more than benefitting them.