Friday, March 30, 2012

Learning from our Past, Lessons for our Future

Our rapidly changing climate has stressed the scientific and archaeological investigation of the palaeoclimate and human response. Evidence of past climate changes and subsequent human responses indicate the existence of strong environment/climate-society linkages. Keith Kloor’s recent article in Audubon Magazine, “A Lost Civilization May Shed Light on Coping with Climate Change,” discusses this issue. The 700-year-old remains of the ancient Hohokam settlement document how this prehistoric culture in the Southwest adapted to the rapid shift towards more arid conditions during the 13th Century.
By integrating palaeoclimate and environmental data with history of societal change it is possible to investigate catastrophe/collapse associated with climate change. We can then extrapolate these results to a climate-induced post-apocalyptic future. Rising temperatures from global warming indicate that the 21st Century will see the continuation of the Southwest’s drought cycle, perhaps at an even harsher magnitude.
The information preserved in historical sites—and the lessons we can learn from these sites—emphasize the importance of protecting our cultural heritage. It is imperative that we learn from our past; we must recognize the value of sites such as the Hohokam settlement and be ever vigilant when it comes to cultural security.
Originally posted by Sally Johnson on

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