Reply To: 4. 10 Mars Integrated History Of People on Earth

Author Replies
Fanny # Posted on January 3, 2016 at 19:02

This is a two page reflection for this IHOPE seminar which I did not attend. it also contain some feedback to the people who handled in their reflections (Ylva, Megan, Lauri and Henrik).

Litteratur reflection:
The Intentions with the workshops DAHLE arrange, what I understand it as, is to understand how humans as a part of nature has integrated in history to develop a sustainable future or driven their societies to a collapse.
IHOPE is a set of scientists from a wide range of background(interdisciplinary motivations) and organize and cluster their science into three time scales. The three scales are: “Millennial” – Up to 10 000 years ago, “centennial” – Up to 1000 years ago and “decadal” – Up to 100 years ago.
The millennial scale researches from C.L. Redman et al. focuses a lot on resilience and tries to sort out why some societies seems stay strong by e.g. climate change and why some huge and strong empires collapse. (p. 116) One important and common link Redman et al. found was the dialectic relation between climate change and how the social political system. (p.118) Some societies tend to make their systems more complex after or/and before a catastrophe. Many societies have also created stable and slow- changing system which in a long-term perspective is impossible to maintain. Redman et al also emphasize the importance for societies and its institutions to observe and respond on climate change signals.
The report also says that some cities have collapsed due to climate change through history, and some have became stronger. It’s therefore extremely important for our global society to collectively act upon the scientific warnings and physical signals we know of which are caused by climate change. However, that seems to be a big challenge. Some reasons why are that different places are more or less affected by climate change and are therefore more or less eager to act, there are also unequal relations and power hierarchies that makes it harder for some places to react on climate change (lack of money, lack of technology, lack of mandate to change unsustainable systems etcetera), we have powerful and rich forces/industries that intensively work to shut down signals about climate change and factors behind climate change. Biased media and conflicts of interest also makes it hard to communicate knowledge that is needed to react on climate change and unequal systems.
The report push hard to explain that resilience is a concept that includes a city’s ability to change its social organisation as well as a city’s ability to cope with environmental/natural changes. And that social institutions and environmental changes are very interlinked with each other, which is shown in table 14.1. (p.246).

My reflection is that we now, in present time, do not just have problems with the strict physical, chemical and environmental changes we have caused to the planet. The bigger issue to ‘solve’/dela with is to change the global political, social and financial system that both affect and is affected by climate change. However, if we know this we also know that we can change the path to a more sustainable on. One of the major and fundamental things we have to do is to reconstruct the institutions to become much more resilience, long-term aware and based on ecological and social values.

Here are my reflections on my colleagues reflections.
Ylva’s proposal was about the monetary system, growth and how the policies regarding the monetary system affects the ecological system. My understanding is that Ylva sees the lack of resilience/change in the economical system (which is connected to the social, political and ecological system). She wants to do a critical research to show that infinite growth is not compatible on a planet with limits. This is a very interesting and an important topic, however it is a field where a lot of research is already made. Alternative economic models and policies such as degrowth and circular economy are well discovered subject. My point is that we do not lack ideas, science, alternatives or other systems. The most important thing that is lacking is political and social will to implement new systems. Can this research also involve a local study which has implemented a more sustainable monetary system built on other values than infinite economical growth? How did their monetary policies looked like? How was they affected by and affecting the ecological, economical and social systems? Why did those local places implemented and created that monetary system? Examples on current places with other kinds of economical system exist here in Sweden (Flogsta and Dalarna) and a suburb outside London.
Megan’s topic is is about the gap between environmental awareness and action against climate change. She wants to find out how a big event (environmental damage or political change) affected climate action before, short after and longer after the event. What we need to change is to act on climate change right away, because already today are people affected by climate change and the longer we wait to act the worst will it get until it is to late to hindrance unstoppable catastrophic feedback-loops or “tipping points”.
Lauris and Henrik’s topics were more hands one and place bounded. Lauri wrote a proposal about the history of the river named Mono and Henrik about the long and infected conflicts between state/companies and the native people living in region Norrland in northern Sweden. Both of them have the perspective of ‘how has the place, through time, been affected by environmental/social/economical change?’, this is a very interesting perspective! One other nice question for both of the topics is “how has the changes in Mono/Norrland affected the rest of the larger landscape (region, state, even continent?)”. To put the research into a broader context.
I would also like to add a longer time perspective to Henrik’s topic. Perhaps from the 16-17th century (before the mines and land in northern Sweden became so valuable to the government and corporations). A question who focus more about the relation and attitude among the Swedish government and the Samis though time.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Fanny.