Cultural reactions to rapid climate change, which have lead to dramatic changes in living conditions within very few years, are lining the path of human history. The current debate on today's climate change, however, focuses mostly on the influence of human activities on their environment. Less attention is focued on the effects drastic and rapid natural climate change has had, and still has, on human societies and its cultures. One reason for this is that research findings have only recently offered the insight that abrupt changes are a fundamental quality of earth's climate. This is especially important where strategies of human assimilation to current and future climate change are discussed, whether the climate change be of anthropogenic or natural origin.
The Research Group, Climate & Culture, focused on how humankind has reacted to climate change in its history, when there were cultural leaps because of climate change, and when such change has led societies into catastrophe. How did these societies differ from one another? The RG compared the different angles – for instance perspectives of geology, history, art history, legal history, economic history – and took a look at current developments.
Workshop: The Medieval Climate Optimum
In March 2009 the RG organised a workshop in Berlin entitled "Societal and Climatic-Ecological Changes at the Cusp of the Middle Ages and the Little Ice Age" about the medieval climate optimum. Speakers included members of the Research Group as well as external guests Bernhard Weniger (Köln), Franz Mauelshagen (Essen), Kathleen Pribyt (Bern) und Ibrahim Ankaoglu (Köln).
Report in the Junge Akademie Magazin
Bettina Mittelstraß published a report on the workshop in issue 10 of the Junge Akademie Magazin:
more questions than answers. An RG Climate & Culture workshop (German) PDF