2015: Hottest Year in Recorded History

Three years ago, I posted an article here that highlighted 2012 as the hottest year recorded in the United States. Then, two years later, I posted another article that declared 2014 as the hottest year ever recorded. Today, the New York Times reported that 2015 now has the distinction of being the hottest year in recorded history. Climate researchers point out that a strong El Niño effect was a contributing factor in 2015, but it seems increasingly apparent that climate change is causing generalized warming of the planet. Of course, what we should be doing about this is the real question we need to ask ourselves in 2016.

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2014 Hottest Year on Record

099cff123553ab6feae2ba1507a1d2baThe evidence on global climate change continues to mount. Both NASA and NOAA have declared 2014 the hottest year in the 134 years of record keeping in the United States. These agencies point out that while individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are showing that greenhouse gas release from anthropogenic activities are driving global climate change.

Climate Change Rally in Muncie

Here are photos from today’s rally in Muncie, which called for action on climate change. Rallies were held all over the world to place pressure on global leaders who are meeting in New York this Tuesday for the United Nations Climate Summit. In New York City alone, as many as 400,000 people took to the streets.

U.S. National Climate Assessment Released

The Third U.S. National Climate Assessment was released by the White House today. It provides an overview of the effects of climate change on a range of issues from agriculture and the oceans to human health and infrastructure. In a related note, the prominent climate scientist Michael Mann published an op-ed today in The Guardian today, reporting that Keystone XL pipeline project will likely fail to pass in the U.S. Senate based on the current estimate of votes. This should be a major victory for those who have opposed the pipeline project since its inception, especially Bill McKibben and 350.org. This could also represent a major turning point in U.S. politics with regards to climate change.

2013 Ethnobiology Conference Podcasts

Podcasts of presentations from the 2013 Conference for the Society of Ethnobiology are now available online. You can find my presentation titled “Crop Diversity and Climate Change: Manioc Varietal Management in the Rural Amazon” and others from the conference’s plenary panel here.

Managing Uncertainty in Rural Amazonia: Climate Change, Crop Diversity, and Social Networks

If you’re at the annual American Anthropological Association meeting in San Francisco next week (Nov. 14-18), I’ll be giving my talk at 2:45 pm on Friday (room: Golden Gate 2 at the Hilton San Francisco). Here is the abstract:

Most Amazonian smallholder farmers are accustomed to uncertain climatic conditions, often relying on traditional ecological knowledge, agrobiodiversity management, and social network support to contend with the threats of drought and flooding.  Nonetheless, anthropogenic climate change presents unique challenges to Amazonian farmers and their resilience.  Between 2009 and 2010, record flooding accompanied by intense drought left devastating impacts on many smallholder communities in the Central Amazon, severely compromising production of even the most resistant crops, including the regional staple manioc.  Drawing on botanical, ethnographic, and social network data collected during this period, I discuss the effects of these events on the production and management of manioc and its varieties in communities along the Lower Madeira River in the Central Brazilian Amazon.  Examining issues of crop selection and the dynamics of varietal distribution through social networks, I highlight both the vulnerabilities that farmers face and the mechanisms by which they respond to increasingly uncertain environmental conditions.  To conclude, I consider the ways in which anthropological research on agrobiodiversity management vis-a-vis climate change may serve farmers and policy makers alike.