ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AFRICA, OCEANIA AND THE AMERICAS OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

Anthropology, Weather & Climate Change

(Plenary2)
Next Steps beyond 'Changing the Atmosphere': Strategies for Action on the AAA Statement on Humanity and Climate Change
Location British Museum - BP Lecture Theatre
Date and Start Time 28 May, 2016 at 13:00
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Sarah Strauss (University of Wyoming) email
  • Edward Liebow (American Anthropological Association) email

Mail All Convenors

Discussant Steve Rayner

Short Abstract

In this roundtable, members of the AAA Task Force on Global Climate Change, with a range of interlocutors from inside and outside the academy, discuss strategies for using anthropological research to mitigate the impacts of climate change at scales from local to global, through policy and practice.

Long Abstract

In 2015, the American Anthropological Association reported the findings from a three-year investigation by its Global Climate Change Task Force, Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change. As part of this document, the Task Force prepared a brief but forceful Statement on Humanity and Climate Change, acknowledging anthropology's capacity to take the long and comparative view on possible approaches to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Further, the Task Force has offered guidance on new research directions and applications, as well as recommendations for scholarly societies like the AAA to support and promote research, teaching, and public and policy engagement in this arena. In this Roundtable session, Task Force members, the AAA's Executive Director, and other guests from within and outside the academy consider the "next steps" that might be needed to bring such anthropological insights forward in meaningful ways: across the sub-disciplines as well as internationally, and outward to policymakers and the public at large. We will discuss strategies for interdisciplinary research and program development at scales from local to global; engagements with NGOs and institutions like the UN and World Bank; and effective uses of media, both social and conventional.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Anthropologists Take On Climate Change

Author: Shirley Fiske (University of Maryland)  email

Short Abstract

This presentation will introduce the work of the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Task Force on Global Climate Change, resulting in a final report and Statement on Humanity and Climate Change. It is clear that the Kyoto Protocol, continuing through COP-21, has led us down a road that focuses increasingly on mitigation of carbon and GHGs, intensifying the role of carbon trading and carbon markets in an apparently futile effort to stem the growth of GHGs. We suggest instead a ‘bottoms up’ approach that allows us to focus on the foundational assumptions of climate change governance (e.g. adaptation and carbon offsets), the complexity of engagement and agency, and the drivers and effects on the most vulnerable pastoralists, indigenous and forest dwelling “producers” of carbon. All of these challenges must be met to advance on avenues forward.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Driving Change: Culture, Consumption, and Equity

Authors: Sarah Strauss (University of Wyoming)  email
Richard Wilk (Indiana University)  email

Short Abstract

Human consumption and accumulation of goods and services is a fundamental cause of GHG emissions; historical increases in efficiency and productivity have not kept up with increasing living standards. Inequality has proven to be one of the basic drivers of consumer culture, as well as of energy use for less tangible purposes, ensuring that demand always outstrips supply. Anthropology’s holistic and systems-based approach compares different cultural/economic systems over thousands of years, projecting the trajectories necessary for a transition to a post consumer culture where demand and supply are balanced.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Future Solutions from the Past

Authors: Robert L. Kelly (University of Wyoming)  email
Lisa Lucero (University of Illinois)  email
Carole Crumley (IHOPE)  email

Short Abstract

The intersection between archaeology and climate change provides two roads for action. First, through increased rates of site destruction, climate change will lessen our ability to use archaeological and paleoecological data to contribute to solutions to the effects of climate change on modern human populations. Second, prehistory is a long-term record of human trial-and-error that helps formulate responses to the anticipated effects of climate change. We briefly review efforts needed to meet the first challenge, and lessons learned from the second.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Adaptation for whom and to what?

Authors: Heather Lazrus (National Center for Atmospheric Research)  email
Anthony Oliver-Smith (University of Florida)  email

Short Abstract

Existing top-down adaptation programs do not treat the social and economic variables that underpin vulnerability to climate change—poverty, marginalization, lack of education and information, and loss of control over resources. Unless these factors are taken into consideration, efforts to build resilience and decrease vulnerability globally are likely to fall short. Anthropologists examine the uneven landscape of adaptation planning, identifying who is affected, in what ways, and towards what outcomes; and also suggest possible solutions based on community-centered approaches.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Community Agency and Climate Justice: Place-Based and Path-Dependent

Authors: Shirley Fiske (University of Maryland)  email
Susan Crate (George Mason University)  email

Short Abstract

Although climate change is a global problem, its effects are place-based and path-dependent and so requires local and regional solutions. The task force called for greater attention to the unequal impacts of climate change distributed across the communities of the world; and recognized the need to re-focus on local and regional agency and solutions in dealing with climate change and environmental degradation. To these ends, this commentary overviews community-centered approaches and the critical role that anthropology can/ does play.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Discussion

Author: Steve Rayner (University of Oxford)  email

Short Abstract

None provided.

Long Abstract

None provided.

Frontiers/Next Steps

Author: Edward Liebow (American Anthropological Association)  email

Short Abstract

Having commissioned the Task Force, what is the proper role for scholarly and professional groups like AAA in implementing its actionable recommendations? This brief commentary highlights the available tools and resources required of an Association of anthropologists, targeting relevant mitigation, adaptation, and points of attack for reducing the social determinants of vulnerability.

Long Abstract

None provided.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.