The Climatic Odyssey of Homo sapiens

par Prof. Dr. emeritus Alain Préat, Free University of Brussels

At a time of climate change (or disruption for some), it’s high time to read Olivier Postel-Vinay’s excellent French book, ‘Sapiens and the climate, a turbulent history’ (original in French: Sapiens et le climat, une histoire bien chahutée (2022)’, which looks at the climate changes our species has undergone since Homobecame sapiens, i.e. over the past 233,000 years. What does this book tell us?

 It shows us that our species has been confronted throughout its history and evolution with brutal climatic changes of durations and intensities that have no comparison with those of our own time. 

This unusually meticulous essay is supported by well-documented historical accounts and facts, supplemented wherever possible by scientific data drawn mainly from archaeology, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, and geology. This perspective paints a detailed picture of the climatic changes faced by the first humans (hunter-gatherers), then by the first civilizations and finally by our modern societies.

to the .pdf of the article

nb Version Française ici

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