New Challenges for Poverty Reduction
Edited by M. A. Mohamed Salih
Chapter 3: Ecospace, Humanspace and Climate Change
Ton Dietz1 Geography as an academic discipline is back on stage after a century of gradual marginalization. Many scientists who call themselves economists, sociologists, hydrologists and so on, are contributing to our collective knowledge about the relationship between man and environment, the classic home ground of geography. Hans Opschoor is one of them. He was one of the nongeographers contributing to a recent book (in Dutch) entitled From Natural Landscapes to Risk Society (Dietz et al. 2008). The public and scientific worries about climate change have done much to revitalize geography, together with the improved abilities of geographers to visualize spatial and spatial-temporal phenomena, with the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The dynamics of people’s relationship with the earth result in a blend of earth sciences, social sciences and history. Particularly long history (or as the French say, longue durée) is part of that blend and it implies questions about the timescale to be used, but one can also not escape the question about spatial scale. Issues of climate change put the terrestrial system centre stage, as well as extraterrestrial influences such as solar heat and its fluctuations and varying impact on the earth. In the distant past, meteorite collisions with the earth caused major climate change. Reconstructions and predictions of climate change for the earth as a whole are already complicated. Reducing levels of scale to regions on the earth is even trickier (see van Boxel 2008; Leemans 2008). Humankind’s ability to understand climate fluctuations is only...
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