Monday, 10 November 2014

Rescue!History and Climate Change

Rescue!History - not, as you might think, a group attempting to rescue History, but historians (mostly) who want to help save the world from climate change (see bottom of page for more detailed statement from their webpage).

I was lucky to be invited to present at their event at BMI Birmingham on the subject of  'Archivism, activism and climate change'.  The event as a whole took on a broad range of very different historical perspectives on how climate change might be changing our view of history, and how history and historians might best save the world.

There was nothing too conclusive, as you might expect but in the mix a lot of interesting points made, a healthy meeting of opinions on crisis and history, and a less healthy meander into eco-eugenics and the futility of fighting the selfish gene.  I kept fairly well clear of the toxic parts of the debate, and was keen mainly to put over the relatively simplistic point - people need to ask their own questions, find out for themselves, relate to the issues if they are going to take any meaningful part in the solutions.

We all need to be historians, if we are to understand any of history's lessons (and using example of Paganel Archives we can!)  I'll certainly be following more closely Rescue!History and keeping in touch with new found historian friends.

Rescue!History are:
'practitioners of the Humanities and Social Sciences wish to affirm that investigations and findings from our colleagues in the scientific community overwhelmingly support the conclusion that contemporary global warming is anthropogenic: that is, at least in considerable part, a consequence of our own individual and collective human actions, at all levels of local, national and international society, economy and polity.'
'recognises the urgency of the situation we are now in, and seeks to develop, both individually and collectively, research, curricula, and other educational programmes of past and present societies that will contribute to disseminating knowledge about the human origins, impacts and consequences of anthropogenic climate change, while also enabling and empowering the broader public to make the epochal changes that are going to be needed if we are to survive and sustain ourselves in the face of the challenge before us.'