This week’s inauguration of President Joe Biden put climate change back on the U.S. agenda — and none too soon!
On day one, he signed orders to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, revoke the Keystone XL oil pipeline and directed “all federal agencies to ‘immediately review and take appropriate action to address’ Trump-era policies or regulations that are damaging to the environment or public health.” These actions are urgent and critical. History has shown that climate change has a direct impact on societies and even the rise and fall of civilizations. In fact, most of the crises America has faced in the last year – a pandemic, economic implosion and massive civil unrest – can all be traced back in part to damage that global warming is already causing.
A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to teach high school geography. It’s not taught like it was when I was in school in the 1970’s. Now we look at how history and society interact with our physical environment. That year I came across the incredible work of today’s guest, Professor Brian Fagan, whose books on the effect of climate change has profoundly influenced the rise and fall of societies throughout history. In this interview he shares his insights from these important works.
Fagan is professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an archaeological generalist, with expertise in the broad issues of human prehistory. You’ll also get a preview of his new book, which is due out later this year. It promises to be another masterpiece on past climate change and the implications for our future.
Podcast: History’s Climate Change Lessons
Watch it on YouTube: Professor Brian Fagan