We evolved our intelligence 150,000-200,000 years ago in the African savanna. We did not get smart because we became "civilized." in fact there are some scientists who claim that we have gotten dumber recently, that our brain has shrunk in size compared to earlier humans. The reason we have achieved so much technologically is not because we got smarter, but because we invented writing. Before writing, people can only learn from others through speech and memory. Memory can be easily lost, so we end up having to rediscover stuff that have already been discovered, and in some cases, we actually do not know what we have lost when some of the writings (e.g. by Da Vinci and other ancient scholars such as Archimedes) were lost.
We really benefited by climate because since the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago, the warm weather and the invention of agriculture since then have freed us from having to spend our lives gathering food. Many of us can now do things the benefit ourselves technologically. We can invent new tools and new technologies and pass them along to future generations through our writings.