Mayan astronmers observer star that burns, a comet
Mayan astronomers and nobility observe comet in this illustration from the Alder Planetarium. Winds of Change author and others including Collapse author, Jared Diamond, see a direct connection between climate change and the fall of this and other once-great civilizations across the planet and down through history.

The Angry Winds of Change

MP3 audio of Winds of Change author Eugene Linden's appearance on C-Span Book TV

By EV World

Perhaps more than anything after studying the link between changing climate and the fall of advanced civilizations, Eugene Linden, the author of Winds of Change, is struck by the disconnect between the solid consensus of science and the apathy of the public when it comes to the clear and present danger of global climate change.

"Scientists have been doing their job about the problem, but we have utterly failed to pay attention and change course. I don't think in the course of thirty five years of writing about environment, science and society… I don't think I've ever seen a bigger disconnect between scientific consensus and public awareness of the threat."

He holds the media partly to blame, likening the situation to a reporter going to a tobacco company and asking them for a scientist to rebut the link between smoking and lung cancer as part of a 'fair and balanced' news report.

"To forestall action, interested parties don't have to disprove global warming, they just have to leave the impression that it's far off in the future and scientists disagree."

Buy Now

"When I started working on this book, I thought the threat was far off in the future, as well" Linden comments. "But while we have been gazing far off into the distance, climate has been changing around us and it is somewhat of an awkward situation when you're writing about the future and it comes along and tapes you on the shoulder."

Linden points to several of the past civilizations he's studied, especially the Mayan and how drought helped bring about the disintegration of their numerous city-states in southern Mexico and in neighboring Central America. While writers like Jared Diamond ("Collapse") see other factors, including over-population and resulting environmental degradation as also contributing factors, Linden notes that Mayan rulers maintained control over their people largely by controlling access to clean water, especially during times of drought. But when the droughts went on for years, society began to rebel and the empire collapse.

You can listen to Mr. Linden's presentation and the follow-up Q&A session using the MP3 players in the right-hand column. Each file is approximately 30-minutes in length. Also feel free to download them to your personal computer for playback on your favorite MP3 device. These recordings will also be available through the EV World iTunes podcast service and similar audio podcast feeds.

Times Article Viewed: 5352
Published: 21-Apr-2006


blog comments powered by Disqus