GHEA: Living with the Dangers of Sudden Environmental Change: Understanding Hazards, Mitigating Impacts, Avoiding Disasters

Project Leaders: Jago Cooper (project owner)
Payson Sheets

Project Type: GHEA Project

GHEA Project Collaborators

Start: 16th October 2009
End: 1st August 2011


This GHEA project arose from a session on hazards and disasters held during the ‘Long Term Global Human Ecodynamics’ Conference ” hosted by the Humboldt Field Research Institute at Eagle Hill Maine in October 16-19 2009. This team of GHEA members is now writing an edited book that aims to provide a clearer conceptual understanding of how human communities live with the dangers of sudden environmental change. The deep time perspectives used by each contributor provides a rich temporal context to the human experience of environmental hazards and impacts. The approach of the book is to provide eight separate case studies, each examining how one past human community has faced the impacts of environmental change. Different stories of resilience and destruction are told and as the book develops, key lessons for successful disaster management emerge. Each of the case studies has a comparable structure and complementary thematic coverage that enables the audience to make direct comparisons between the different chapters. The selected case studies cover a broad temporal and spatial spectrum and range from equatorial to sub-polar regions, from deep prehistory to living memory, and from tropical rainforests to desert interiors. However, each chapter is united by the careful examination of how past peoples understood the hazards that threatened them, how they attempted to mitigate the potential impacts and whether their survival strategies proved successful in avoiding disaster. This book will be available from University Press of Colorado in August 2011. This GHEA project would like to acknowledge the National Science Foundation for their support: NSF AWARD NO: ARC 1034880