March 31, 2009

The Great Warming

This book presents a history of global warming. Fagan explains how climate change from the 10th to the 15th centuries has been viewed in a largely positive light. In Western Europe, a longer growing season in the summers led to bountiful harvests and population growth. With these necessities of life more assured, people had time for leisure, cultural activities, and greater emphasis on education. In Southeast Asia, new wind patterns enabled people to sail further from the continent, settling permanently on remote islands. In the Arctic regions, the appearance of new waterways enabled the Norse to make contact with the Inuit, trading precious metals. Warming trends were not universally positive, however. Along the equator, desert regions such as the Sahara, expanded bringing drout and famine to the inhabitants of the border regions. In the Americas, native civilizations such as the Mayans, collapsed, leaving behind archaeological relics of their culture's zenith. In writing this history, Fagan demonstrates the great power of climate to both boost and destroy societies, and sends a caution that we should not underestimate the warming trend that we are observing today.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations
Brian Fagan
QC 981.8 .G56 F34 2009