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We can learn lessons from Vikings to adapt to global change

Washington, Mon, 20 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 20 (ANI): History can teach us how best to respond to climate change, conomic turmoil and cultural upheaval, which seems to be pressing concerns of today, cientists have suggested.


Scientists studying the past environments and archaeological remains of Greenland and Iceland ave been able to analyse how well the Norse responded to changes in the economy, trade, olitics and technology, against a backdrop of changing climate.


They found that Norse societies fared best by keeping their options open when managing their ong-term sustainability, adapting their trade links, turning their backs on some economic options nd acquiring food from a variety of wild and farmed sources.


The researchers say their findings could help inform decisions on how modern society responds o global challenges.


In the middle ages, people in Iceland embraced economic changes sweeping Europe, eveloped trading in fish and wool and endured very hard times to build a flourishing modern ociety.


In Greenland, however, medieval communities maintained traditional Viking trade in prestige oods such as Walrus ivory. In adapting to severe weather, the Norse in Greenland became ncreasingly specialised, and in the 15th century changes in trade, climate and cultural contact ith the Inuit led to the society's downfall.


"Our future will in part be shaped by climate change, and to prepare for it we can learn valuable essons from how societies of the past have adapted and even flourished amid a backdrop of ifficult conditions. Most importantly we can understand how a combination of climate and non-limate events can lead to a 'perfect storm' and trigger unexpected and dramatic social change," aid Professor Andrew Dugmore, of the University of Edinburgh.


Professor Dugmore presented the findings as part of a symposium on 'Climate Change and the ong-term sustainability of societies' at the annual conference of the American Association for he Advancement of Science in Vancouver, Canada. (ANI)


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