Climate chaos Lessons on survival from our ancestors

Brian M. Fagan

Book - 2021

"Man-made climate change may have began in the last two hundred years, but humankind has witnessed many eras of climate instability. The results have not always been pretty: once-mighty civilizations felled by pestilence and glacial melt and drought. But we have one powerful advantage as we face our current crisis: history. The study of ancient climates has advanced tremendously in the past ten years, to the point where we can now reconstruct seasonal weather going back thousands of years, ...and see just how civilizations and nature interacted. The lesson is clear: the societies that survive are the ones that plan ahead. Climate Chaos is thus a book about saving ourselves. Brian Fagan and Nadia Durrani show in remarkable detail what it was like to battle our climate over centuries, and offer us a path to safer and healthier future"--

Saved in:

2nd Floor New Shelf Show me where

304.25/Fagan
0 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 304.25/Fagan (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 30, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York : PublicAffairs 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxiv, 321 pages ; illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781541750876
154175087X
Main Author
Brian M. Fagan (author)
Other Authors
Nadia Durrani (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this latest book, Fagan and Durrani (who previously collaborated on What We Did in Bed and Bigger Than History) seek to answer one question: why is history relevant to the way societies will handle future climate chaos? The result is a thorough study of human history, as seen entirely through the impact of climate. They survey 30,000 years of global humanity to show how previous societies responded, or didn't, to climate shifts; they also outline lessons for modern societies adapting to future irreversible global warming. They do touch on climate science, but because of the complexity and fast-changing nature of the discipline, they chose instead to focus on archaeology and history, to great effect. Theirs is not a typical work of popular world history; it's fresh and new, and, unlike similar titles, marvelously eschews specificity in favor of generality and universality. The authors create thought-provoking connections and draw striking conclusions that will interest even the most climate-savvy of readers. VERDICT Complete with maps and illustrations, this wide-ranging historical survey is international in scope, while remaining accessible. A title for every reader, no matter their academic background.—Laura Hiatt, Fort Collins, CO Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

There's an incorrect yet widely held assumption "that the human experience with ancient climatic shifts is irrelevant to today's industrialized world," according to this impassioned history. Anthropology professor Fagan (Fishing) and archaeologist Durrani (Bigger Than History) look at how previous generations have adapted to climate change, going as far back as before the first millennium CE, when early humans valued cooperation and showed "an intimate knowledge of the changing environment... and a deep respect for the natural world." Later sections revisit the end of the Roman Empire, when a plague ran rampant, and how, for example, Native Americans in the early 16th century dealt with drought via "mobility and by maintaining kin ties with neighboring communities." The authors round things out with a handful of "brutally simple" lessons: that humans must better use their skills at planning, cooperation, and reasoning in the face of climate change; that humans have a remarkable ability to predict climate change thanks to science and technology; that a great deal of adaptation must come at the local level; and that connections with family and communities are "a remarkable survival mechanism." Educational and earnest, Fagan and Durrani's work offers an original historical perspective. Climate-minded readers will find much to consider. Agent: Susan Rabiner, Rabiner Literary. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Two leading archaeologists look at the 30,000 year history of mankind’s relationship with climate instability and the lessons we can learn to save ourselves from our current climate crisis. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Man-made climate change may have began in the last two hundred years, but humankind has witnessed many eras of climate instability. The results have not always been pretty: once-mighty civilizations felled by pestilence and glacial melt and drought. Butwe have one powerful advantage as we face our current crisis: history. The study of ancient climates has advanced tremendously in the past ten years, to the point where we can now reconstruct seasonal weather going back thousands of years, and see just how civilizations and nature interacted. The lesson is clear: the societies that survive are the ones that plan ahead. Climate Chaos is thus a book about saving ourselves. Brian Fagan and Nadia Durrani show in remarkable detail what it was like to battle our climate over centuries, and offer us a path to safer and healthier future"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A thirty-thousand-year history of the relationship between climate and civilization that teaches powerful lessons about how humankind can survive.  Human-made climate change may have begun in the last two hundred years, but our species has witnessed many eras of climate instability. The results have not always been pretty. From Ancient Egypt to Rome to the Maya, some of history’s mightiest civilizations have been felled by pestilence and glacial melt and drought.The challenges are no less great today. We face hurricanes and megafires and food shortages and more. But we have one powerful advantage as we face our current crisis: the past. Our knowledge of ancient climates has advanced tremendously in the last decade, to the point where we can now reconstruct seasonal weather going back thousands of years and see just how people and nature interacted. The lesson is clear: the societies that survive are those that plan ahead.Climate Chaos is a book about saving ourselves. Brian Fagan and Nadia Durrani show in remarkable detail what it was like to battle our climate over centuries and offer us a path to a safer and healthier future.