An innovative course in environmental history offers new ways to think about the past — and the future.
Taught by Venus Bivar, PhD, assistant professor of history in Arts & Sciences, it is an introduction to a discipline called environmental history, with a special focus on climate change.
Bivar’s reading list is an immediate tipoff that this is not just a run-through of climate science. The list includes The Long Thaw, by David Archer, a geophysicist, but that is probably the only text that might be assigned in a science course.
Archer makes a crucial point, however: global warming is not a short-term problem we can simply outwait. It will take hundreds of thousands of years for rock weathering to draw down the carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere, he says.