How can understanding the past help us address future climate change?

Thomas McGovern, archaeologist

The past is full of examples of human societies that underwent painful transitions — even collapse — when faced with dramatic climate and other environmental changes. Reflecting on the value of history as we prepare to meet present and future challenges, archaeologist Thomas McGovern notes that the past can be both an inspiration and a warning, as we now face change on an unprecedented scale in our own lifetimes. Knowledge of the past is indispensable, he notes, “if we are going to be effective in building scenarios that can take us through what will be interesting times to genuine sustainability in the future.”

Bifrost gratefully acknowledges the leadership of the sustainability education project Svartarkot Culture Nature and the research networks NIES and NABO for all their valuable support and work behind the scenes that helped make the interview excerpted in this video possible. Grateful acknowledgment is also made to the Kiðagil Guesthouse, where the interview was filmed.