The Empire of Climate

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I’ve been listening to some very interesting BBC radio podcasts on climate. Written and produced by David Livingstone, they explore the way culture and societies have interacted and  thought about climate. For example, did you know that many people consider that the infamous Salem witch hunts took place because of adverse weather?

The way we think about the impacts of climate on our lives has a bigger impact than we can imagine. Dr. Livingstone claims that the empire of climate is the most powerful, in shaping our own lives and how we view the other. It’s a fascinating discussion, especially as touched on in the Climate, Race and Immigration segment. Does human culture flourish in one climate and degenerate in another? Does climate lead certain people to be more productive then others? How have some of these ways of thinking translated into the way we view people today? One modern day example is an unwillingness by some in the west to give aid to parts of Africa, because people living in that climate zone are not responsible enough to make good use of aid.

Colombia is a hot place. I’ll be in lowlands, were the average temperature is 28 C. It will be hot and humid all year round. How will climate impact what I’m doing? How does observing the practice of siesta, which often occurs so people can rest during the hottest time of day, shape both the way people view their lives and how outsiders, like myself, view daily life? It will be interesting!

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