Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution: Past and Future

Our early ancestors evolved on a drying, cooling, and highly variable planet, which has led to competing ideas as to how climate may have shaped human evolution. Equally compelling is the question of how and when humans began to affect their surroundings to such an extent as to become a force of climate change, with disruptions affecting the globe today. According to earth scientists, paleontologists, and scholars in other fields, the planet has entered a new geological phase - the Anthropocene, the age of humans. How did this transition of our species from an apelike ancestor in Africa to the current planetary force occur? What are the prospects for the future of world climate, ecosystems, and our species? This symposium presents varied perspectives on these critical questions from earth scientists, ecologists, and paleoanthropologists. (from

Human Impacts: Will We Survive the Future? Renowned historian of science Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University addresses the question of human impacts on climate and whether we will survive the future, and posits that humanity will need to make substantial change in what we do and how we think.

8. Human Impacts: Will We Survive the Future?

Go to the Series Home or watch other lectures:

1. African Climate Change and Human Evolution
2. The Climatic Framework of Neanderthal Evolution
3. Climate Instability and the Evolution of Human Adaptability
4. Abrupt Climate Transitions and Humans
5. How Humans Took Control of Climate
6. The Impacts of Arctic Sea Ice Retreat on Contemporary Climate
7. A Tipping Point? Using the Past to Forecast Our Future
8. Human Impacts: Will We Survive the Future?
9. Climate Change Mitigation: In Pursuit of Common Good