Climate: The great Maestro of Life on Earth. History, Didactics and Case Studies

Maria Rosário Bastos, Joana Gaspar de Freitas, João Pedro Cunha Ribeiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Vox populi says “weather isn't what it used to be”! Climate change has been preferentially approached regarding the future. Most discussions focus on warming in recent decades and mean sea level rise, leaving aside the fact that climate has been varying over time with different impacts on Earth’s life. It is now possible through several proxies to reconstruct climatic variations in a long-term perspective. History allows to realize how humans faced climatic variations: adapting, migrating or succumbing to them. We are beginning to understand climate influence in the Crusades/Christian Peninsular Conquest and Iberian Discoveries, for example. The better we know the past the better we can have a realistic idea of present and future challenges. Having this in mind, the authors created a Climate History Course, the first in a Portuguese University. The aim of this chapter is to talk about the experience of using historical examples as a tool to communicate climate change. Being optional in scholar curricula, the course had a good adhesion, attracting students from various areas. Students are eager for these diachronic studies on climate. It is up to professors and scientists to find the better way of giving them the knowledge they seek.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Communication
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Evangelos Manolas, Anabela Marisa Azul, Ulisses M. Azeiteiro, Henry McGhie
Place of PublicationBerlim
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-70479-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-70478-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Climate change communication
  • Human responses
  • Diachronic analysis
  • Portuguese academic experience
  • Universities
  • Climate education


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