Oxford University historian Peter Frankopan explained the influence of climate and geography on human history in his book ‘The Earth Transformed: An Untold Story’. He gave an overview of it to Sanjiv Shankaran.
Is it accurate to describe your work as an attempt to weave geology and climate into the study of factors which influenced the evolution of human societies?
Yes; though the aim is to look both at how humans have been influenced not only by climate but by geography and nature; and how we in turn have shaped the environment we live in – from the rivers to the atmosphere. I am particularly interested in patterns of exchange and in connections generally; but also in ‘globalising history’ so that we do not always keep looking at the same people and same events – even if historians often do so in different ways. Above all, I want to understand why we are facing a mass extinction of animals and plants, and to trace the roots of unsustainability that many of our human predecessors worried about. We can see this as early as the very first Vedic texts.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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