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.
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.
Teaching Across Disciplines: Reimagining University Education for Today's Multidisciplinary Problems
In the 15th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview Kathryn de Luna, Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of History at Georgetown University. Professor de Luna combines paleoscience, archaeology, and historical linguistics to explore the deep history of eastern, central and southern Africa before the 20th century. At Georgetown, she is on the cutting edge of developing new courses and teaching methods that introduce students to ways of understanding the past that go well beyond the traditional practice of history. In this episode, Professor de Luna describes the courses she teaches; outlines the potential and peril of multidisciplinary learning; and gives concrete advice for how to make university education truly multidisciplinary.
Climate Change in the Ancient World: Volcanoes, Rebellions, and Lessons from the Distant Past
In the 14th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview Joseph Manning, the William K. and Marilyn Milton Simpson Professor of Classics at Yale University. Professor Manning is a leading expert on the law, politics, and economy of the ancient world, particularly the Hellenistic Period (between 330 and 30 BCE). In recent years, he's led efforts to uncover a link between volcanic eruptions, climatic shocks, and rebellions in ancient Egypt: efforts that inspired headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Professor Manning explains how his team uncovered the influence of climate change in Egyptian history, and what the ancient world has to tell us about our uncertain future.
COVID and Climate Change: Reflections on the Pandemic, the Past, and the Future
In the 13th and most unusual episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde share their reflections on the Covid-19 pandemic in light of their expertise as environmental historians. Among other topics, Degroot and Moesswilde discuss how historians might someday write about the pandemic, the parallels between Covid and climate reporting, and how (and how not) to draw lessons from the era of social distancing for the fight against climate change.
Tree Stories: What the Rings in Trees Reveal About Climate Change
In the 12th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview leading tree ring scientists Amy Hessl (West Virginia University) and Valerie Trouet (University of Arizona). Both Hessl and Trouet have scoured the world to measure the growth rings in trees, which they use to uncover ancient climate changes that likely influenced the fate of past societies. In a wide ranging conversation, Trouet and Hessl describe the nature of this work and its key lessons for the present. Trouet also introduces her new book, "Tree Story," which chronicles her career and explains the basics of tree ring science to the general public.
Beyond Academia: Climate Change Storytelling and Activism in a Warming World
In the 11th episode of Climate History, co-hosts Dagomar Degroot and Emma Moesswilde interview Victoria Herrmann, president and managing director of the Arctic Institute and one of Apolitical's top 100 influencers on climate policy. Dr. Herrmann's scholarship has focused on media representations of the Arctic and its peoples. Yet while completing her PhD as a Gates Scholar in the Scott Polar Institute at Cambridge University, Herrmann launched several projects aimed at building adaptation to climate change in coastal communities. Her focus has been to connect scholars with stakeholders on the ground, turning abstract knowledge into tangible action.
In this interview, we discuss how climate change scholarship can (and perhaps should) inform concrete action, and how action can enrich scholarship. We consider how graduate students can find their public voice, weigh the importance of storytelling for encouraging climate change action, and contemplate sources of hope in a rapidly warming world.