Climate Change and the Long-Term Sustainability of Human Societies

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 211 (VCC West Building)
Vulnerability to climate change is a pressing policy issue at local, state, national, and global scales. Public and private organizations, policy-makers, and resource managers are concerned with how communities at these scales can adjust to climate change and an increasingly uncertain future. With the future inherently unknowable and policies derived from understandings based on narrow windows of time and space, management for long-term sustainability is a daunting task. Archaeology has a strong contribution to make to climate-change policy because it investigates long sequences of social and climate change at multiple scales. These sequences of changes in human-landscape-climate interactions represent examples of outcomes that provide knowledge about the impacts of climate change over long time-scales. In this session, the presenters explore and compare social and climate change over many centuries in the North Atlantic islands of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroes; in the southwest region of the United States; in the Caribbean Islands; and in the Kuril Islands north of Japan. The purpose of this exploration of dramatically different contexts is to determine whether key processes and relationships from these past sequences can inform current thinking about human responses to climate change beyond the short term and the regionally specific knowledge. This session is sponsored by the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance, an international, interdisciplinary alliance of scholars.
Margaret C. Nelson, Arizona State University
Thomas McGovern, City University of New York
Margaret C. Nelson, Arizona State University
Thomas McGovern, City University of New York
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