Climate History features interviews and discussions about the history of climate change. Conversations consider what the past can tell us about our present and future. It is hosted by Dr. Dagomar Degroot, associate professor of environmental history at Georgetown University, and Emma Moesswilde, a PhD student in environmental and climate history at Georgetown.
Climate Histories and Futures in the Indian Ocean World
In the 21st episode of Climate History, co-host Emma Moesswilde interviews Debjani Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor of History at Drexel University. Professor Bhattacharyya is among the most innovative scholars of past climate change, and the histories she uncovers have clear relevance for the future of the Indian Ocean World.
Moesswilde and Bhattacharyya discuss the history of human responses to climate change at sea; the role of environmental disasters in shape urban trajectories; the role of insurance markets in creating weather knowledge; and how transdisciplinary perspectives on the past can inform our understanding of a hotter future.
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and the Record of Past Climate Change
In the 20th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview Jim McClure, General Editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University. Recently, Director McClure spearheaded the creation of a unique digital resource: a repository of Jefferson’s abundant observations of the weather and climate of his time.
McClure discusses the creation of the Jefferson Weather and Climate Records; explains what visitors can find using this resource; describes how Jefferson wrote about the weather of his time; and details why scholars and students interested in climate change should put "Jefferson to use without accepting all that he was or did."
Little Ice Age Lessons: How to Better Understand the Societal Impacts of Climate Change
In the 19th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde discuss their work on a major article in the journal Nature. The article coins a new term – the “History of Climate and Society” (HCS) – to refer to the truly interdisciplinary study of the past impacts of climate change on human populations. It offers a detailed critique of the field as it has been pursued to date, presents a new research framework for HCS scholars, and shows how the application of that framework can permit new scholarship into the resilience and adaptability of populations that faced the modest, pre-industrial climate changes of the past 2,000 years. It also identifies five “pathways” that allowed populations to endure and even exploit these changes - pathways from which we might learn today.
Dagomar Degroot, lead author of the study, explains what led him to develop the article, describes its major findings, and reveals what it can tell us about the future of global warming.
Making Climate Policy: What's Working, and Where We Should Go Now
In the 18th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center and Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law. Professor Arroyo explains which climate policies have worked across the United States, and identifies where emissions reductions will be hardest to achieve. She emphasizes a pressing need for greater adaptation across America, and describes which policies the Biden Administration should pursue to confront the Climate Crisis.
Pandemics, Empires, and the Lessons of History
In the 17th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview PhD candidate Emily Webster of the Department of History at the University of Chicago. Webster's trailblazing scholarship combines environmental history, the history of science, and medical history to transform understandings of disease in the British Empire. Among other topics, Webster discusses what history can reveal about the unequal impacts of environmental change on marginalized communities, and how it can shed light on connections between apparently isolated environmental crises. She also describes how history can inform public discourse on COVID-19; and identifies the impact of our present pandemic on higher education - particularly graduate students.
Pandemics and Climate Change: What History Tells Us About Today's Greatest Challenges
In the 16th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview professor Timothy Newfield, a climate historian and historical epidemiologist in the departments of history and biology at Georgetown University. Professor Newfield explains how he landed in two very different departments, in two very different fields, and introduces the discipline of historical epidemiology. He describes how historical epidemiologists can identify past diseases and their social consequences, then considers what history can reveal about today's COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, he reflects on the links between climate change and disease, past and present, and on the limitations of public discourse about today's biggest environmental challenges.