Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change

  • 04 Dec 2018
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sumner School (1201 17th St NW)


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Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change

Speaker(s):  L. Jen Shaffer, Shirley Fiske, Rob Winthrop, University of Maryland
Date: Tuesday, 04 December 2018
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Sumner School

L. Jen Shaffer, “Knowledge co-production as a tool for climate change research”

Jen Shaffer is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her ecologically and environmentally grounded research explores the intersections of conservation and climate change at the community level in southern Africa.

Shifting climate parameters and their rippling effects through social-ecological systems have altered the abilities of rural households and communities around the world to make livelihood decisions based on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). National and regional climate services are responding, but the information they provide may not meet local needs or concerns in an accessible format. In this presentation, Dr. Shaffer will discuss the opportunities presented by working with communities to collect local level climate data as well as some of the barriers to be overcome in integrating this work with Western-trained scientists.

Shirley Fiske, “Climate change, carbon offset markets, and social justice”

Shirley Fiske is a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her career has been dedicated to augmenting the voice of the social sciences, and anthropology in particular, in natural resource management and environmental and climate change policy. She previously served in senior roles in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Senate.

This presentation examines the social and equity dimensions of putting the world’s forests – and the rural people who manage and depend on them – at the center of climate policy efforts such as REDD+, intended to slow global warming. Carbon offsets, incorporated in both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accords, were thought to be an easy way to reduce CO2 and at the same time reduce poverty. The social reality of offsets for indigenous and traditional communities is more complex. This presentation draws on findings from the 2017 book The Carbon Fix, organized and edited by Shirley Fiske and Stephanie Paladino.

Robert Winthrop, “Explaining differential social vulnerability to climate change”

Rob Winthrop is a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, with interests in environmental change, stewardship, and human rights. Previously he was Senior Social Scientist at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in Washington, DC.

While no one can escape the impacts of climate change, some social groups experience far greater loss of resources and greater impacts to livelihoods and cultural identity than others. This presentation summarizes the findings of an interdisciplinary review organized through the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which identified four factors as particularly important in explaining differential vulnerability to climate change: resource access, governance, cultural framing, and environmental knowledge.

ASL interpretation: Contact Erik Kjeldgaard at least 48 hours prior to the event if you require ASL interpretation or other accommodation for this event.

Pre-meeting get together:  Join the speakers for dinner or snacks from 5:30  - 6:45 pm at the Edgar Bar and Kitchen, Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC.

Location:  Charles Sumner School, corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC

How to get there:  The Sumner School is located at 1201 17th St NW (corner of 17th St and M St NW).  The entrance to the meeting area is on 17th St under the black metal stairway. Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 2 blocks north.  Enter through the double doors under the black metal staircase. Check with security for the meeting room.  Government ID Is required for entry to the building.

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