Climate Change and Our Common Future: A Historical Perspective

I saw at one time a leaflet that asked people to join in stopping climate change.

It seems that many are not aware that climate changes all the time and that it is not stoppable. Climate changes, however, differ in their timing and magnitude.

It is a result of many factors, for example, such as the distance between the sun and the equator which contributes to the heat budget of the earth and the difference in the temperature of the equator from that of the cooler poles due to deviations in Earth’s orbit, or variations in solar radiation.

The differences in temperature lead to air currents that in turn influence rainfall.

On the scale of tens of thousands of years, the Earth experienced numerous episodes of glacial cooling alternating with warmer intervals.

Following the last major glaciation which began 110 thousand years ago, a transition to warmer conditions from 16,000 to 11,500 years ago was characterized by frequent climatic oscillations.

Bands of foragers in climatically sensitive habitats, such as semi-desert regions in Southwest Asia, North Africa and China responded with a variety of social and food-extractive technologies that included intensive utilization of wild grasses and managing animal games, manufacture and use of grinding stones, trapping, the use of bows and arrows, as well as food preservation.

While some continued to elaborate their hunting gear, others settled down to maximize the gain from wild grain resources.

The most successful groups lived in the Eastern Mediterranean where wild wheat and barely were abundant.

 

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