Earth and Environment
Mount Holyoke College
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Human Dimensions of Climate Change: Past and Future part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Goals Database
In this course we will examine how rapid climate change has affected human civilizations in the past and how it might in the future. Through a critical reading of the literature and by analysis and discussion we will attempt to determine the key factors that have helped societies survive climate change. Past impacts to be considered include the effects of drought on ancient Mesopotamia and the Classic Maya, and the effects of the Little Ice Age on Europe. In the hope that lessons from the past might illuminate the present, we will also consider the political and economic factors that have been involved. For future climate change, among other topics we will consider the potential effects of climate change on the distribution of disease vectors and the effects of changes in the hydrological cycle on agriculture. Particular attention will be paid to Africa.