Is climate change a problem?
HAVE we got the climate change bull by the tail? Have we got our environmental knickers in a knot over something that our ancestors have faced countless times before?
According to one Southern Cross University researcher that may just be the case.
In the first of a series of public lectures at SCU delivered yesterday, Professor Bill Boyd contested that human societies andcivilisations have faced “catastrophes” such as climate change many times before and actually thrived on them, socially and economically.
“Over long periods of time populations have increased and decreased, forests come and gone, rivers flooded and run dry, the temperature has gotten hotter and colder, the oceans have risen and fallen – yet human life has adapted and even flourished,” he said.
While Prof Boyd concedes some societies have collapsed in the face of extreme environmental change, many have been resilient enough to adapt and survive.
Prof Boyd has focused his research on a society in South East Asia which was first settled about 5000 years ago and lived through many such climate changes.
“If you look at this study through the lens of resilience rather than catastrophe and collapse, a very different picture emerges.”
Prof Boyd proposes that resilience enables people to survive with rich cultural lives even in the harshest environments – the more massive the earth changes, his theory goes, the greater the extension of society’s resilience.
“Modern society will also have to develop its resilience with innovative solutions to potentially catastrophic earth changes – perhaps living in massive floating cities or even in under-water cities or space stations.”
The SCU Professorial Lecture series is free and open to the public.