Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropological Engagement with Climate Change

Short Seminar

October 8–10, 2013

Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropological Engagement with Climate ChangeChanging the Atmosphere: Anthropological Engagement with Climate ChangeFrom bottom, left to right: Lucero, Strauss, Lazrus, Crumley, Galvin, Wilk, Crate, Fiske, Orlove, Oliver-Smith

Short Seminar Co-chaired by Shirley J. Fiske, Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland; Lisa J. Lucero, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ; and Anthony Oliver-Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, October 8–10, 2013. Photograph by William Geoghegan
Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropological Engagement with Climate ChangeFrom bottom, left to right: Lucero, Strauss, Lazrus, Crumley, Galvin, Wilk, Crate, Fiske, Orlove, Oliver-Smith

Short Seminar Co-chaired by Shirley J. Fiske, Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland; Lisa J. Lucero, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ; and Anthony Oliver-Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, October 8–10, 2013. Photograph by William Geoghegan

Update: February 10, 2015

The American Anthropological Association  (AAA) adopted a strong statement on humanity and climate change on January 29, 2015. The statement is based on the final report of the association’s Global Climate Change Task Force, which met at SAR in October 2013. The report recognizes that, while climate change will have a global impact, the impact will fall unevenly; and as climate impacts intensify, public expenditures needed for emergency aid and restoration will escalate.

Task force co-chair, Shirley J. Fiske, states, “Anthropologists focus on several aspects of climate change research that other scientists do not fully address, specifically the disproportionately adverse impacts on vulnerable populations…” Because anthropologists are well versed in the long record of human development and civilization, they bring a unique perspective to the table as humanity faces difficult choices for the future.

Dr. Fiske recently wrote to SAR president, Michael Brown:

SAR was instrumental in our AAA Global Climate Change Task Force “coming together” and producing our report. Some things take face-to-face talking and negotiating; and we couldn’t have done it without your support for our short seminar. On behalf of the task force, thank you so very much!

SAR congratulates AAA and the Global Climate Change Task Force for their contribution to managing one of the most important and challenging issues of our time.

Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropological Engagement with Climate Change
Short Seminar: October 8-10, 2013

After almost two decades of engagement with climate change, anthropology has reached a threshold at which it must better present its contributions to the greater public and media. This SAR short seminar examined the commonalities and schisms that permeate anthropological approaches to climate change, and looked to the future to configure mutual frontiers of research and engagement. Topics of discussion focused on three themes: 1) adaptation, resilience and mitigation; 2) cultural meaning of climate change; and 3) environmental justice and community engagement.

Shirley J. Fiske, Chair Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland
Lisa J. Lucero, Chair Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Anthony Oliver-Smith, Chair Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida
Susan Crate Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
Carole L. Crumley Research Professor, Centre for Biodiversity, Swedish Agricultural College, Stockholm
Kathleen Galvin Professor and Senior Research Scientist, Department of Anthropology; Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
Heather Lazrus Scientist, Mesoscale & Microscale Meteorolgy/Societal Impacts Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
Ben Orlove Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Sarah Strauss Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming
Richard Wilk Provost Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University

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