Melissa Charenko (Berlin): Paleo-Perspectives on Environmental Change

16.11.2017 16:00 Uhr – 18:00 Uhr

wann: Donnerstag, 16. November 2017, 16-18 Uhr

wo: Historicum, Schellingstr. 12, Raum K026

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte"

"As ecology emerged as a scientific discipline around the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of influential ecologists argued that the basic function of science, and ecology in particular, was “to give perspective to the human adventure and from that perspective to provide direction for the long future.” This vision of ecology as a predictive science is at first surprising. Ecology is usually understood as a descriptive science, interested in characterizing change and uniformity, instability and equilibrium, as well as competition and cooperation in plant and animal communities. Yet, at its root, ecologists promoted ecology as prophecy.

My paper seeks to understand the meanings and lessons that ecologists drew from the deep past, and the ways that similarities between events in the geologic record and the present were used to predict the outcomes of human-environment interactions. To this end, I explore the emergence of the new subfield of paleoecology, which a number of prominent ecologists promoted as a key tool for addressing the present and future threat of anthropogenic environmental change." - Melissa Charenko.