Anthropologists see climate change as a human problem, not a natural problem

Lake Erie, U.S.A. Photo: quartertonality via Flickr
New report from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) reveals eight ways anthropologists tackle climate change.

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has released a new report from the AAA Task Force on Global Climate Change, accompanied by a Statement on Humanity and Climate Change. The Task Force who authored the report includes Lisa Lucero and Carole L. Crumley, both members of the IHOPE (Integrated History and Future of People on Earth) community of researchers. 

“Anthropologists focus on several aspects of climate change research that other scientists do not fully address, specifically the disproportionately adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, the extent to which our current challenges stem from culture and cultural choices on a societal level; and the value of the long record of human development and civilization that can inform our choices for the future,” said Shirley J. Fiske, Ph.D., Chair of the American Anthropological Association Global Climate Change Task Force.

The statement and report frame the global challenges of climate change as rooted in social institutions and cultural habits, saying that solutions and social adaptations therefore require knowledge and insight from the social sciences and humanities.

“Resilience and adaptation can be best addressed locally and regionally, by enabling communities to provide knowledge and social capital to construct viable solutions,” said task force member Ben Orlove.

The report concludes that top-down policies and programmes may not be the best way to enable communities to address the effects of climate change. 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.