Theories of breakdown driven by climate change have proliferated in recent years, encouraged by the likes of Jared Diamond’s 2005 book CollapseHow Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The Roman Empire, for example, unraveled during a spasm of volcanic explosions, which led to a period of cooling that precipitated the first pandemic of bubonic plague. The decline of the ancient Maya in Central America has been linked with a major drought. Angkor Wat’s downfall, in modern-day Cambodia, has been pinned on a period of wild swings between drought and monsoon floods. So if minor forms of climate change spelled the collapse of these great societies, how are we supposed to survive the much more radical shifts of today? 

Kate Yoder

Read full article in Grist by Kate Yoder

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