Climate Change in Historical Perspective

Lessons for Today from Greenland & the Americas in the Medieval & Early Modern Period

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Biodesign Auditorium B105
Biodesign Institute | ASU Tempe Campus
Free and open to the public | Refreshments will be served

Eventbrite - Climate Change in Historical Perspective


  • Mary Jane Parmentier, Clinical Associate Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation and Society, ASU
  • Stephen Romaniello, Assistant Research Scientist, School Of Earth & Space Exploration, ASU
  • Sharonah Fredrick, Assistant Director, ACMRS (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
  • Steven Semken, Professor of Geoscience Education and Geological Sciences, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and Deputy Director for Education and Outreach, EarthScope National Office


  • Carlos Velez Ibanez, Regents Professor, School of Transborder Studies, Founding Director, School of Transborder Studies, Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Climate change has altered the course of history for millennia, with particularly severe examples occurring globally during the medieval and Early Modern era. The repercussions of climate change, and its possible adaptive solutions, are hotly debated topics today. From the waters of Scandinavia to the arid coasts of Peru and Ecuador, rising seas, warming and cooling oceans, glacial melting and their disruptions have led to tragedy, upheaval, and innovative crisis management. Some of the examples cited will be those of the Greenland Inuit and the Danes of the 14th century; modern-day social experiments in resource management in Latin America and the Middle East, while maintaining respect for centuries’ old life ways; the droughts of medieval Guatemala and the reorganization of the Maya. We will also look at the traumatic changes, due to water scarcity among other factors, which transformed the American Southwest. These events ranged from the reconfiguration of Ancestral Puebloan culture to contemporary problems besetting our region, including our Native American nations. Climate change in the medieval and Early Modern period played a major role in transforming societies, and it reverberates in our own. What lessons can we draw from these events to inform our current era, in terms of environmental and sociocultural sustainability? This symposium will create a dialogue in which the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences interact, sharing their visions of time, history and the natural world.

Sponsored by: ASU School of Sustainability, ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), School for the Future of Innovation in Society, ASU School of Transborder Studies (STS), Global Sustainability | Planetworks and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS)