The idea of tele-connectivity that Professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood highlighted in his talks last week is one that has the potential to be revolutionary in today’s society. The Tambora eruption was a very significant event that didn’t just affect the island it was on. It spread and cascaded across the globe affecting an enormous range of human affairs and environments. The lack of connection between the eruption and the environmental events that followed left a looming gap of understanding, and the resilience and well-being of countries throughout the world suffered as a result. Professor Wood’s idea of tele-connectivity is one that pushes students and individuals to consider historic events in relation to the natural events that were happening around them.

Professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood made the point that historic events are consistently human affairs on a back drop of environmental events, and these events are overlooked because of a long history of traditional practices that left out such a crucial external factor.  The Tambora event simply fell into oblivion and was forgotten in a short period of time. Similarly, in a more recent context, I thought about Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. The storm had hugely detrimental effects across new England and into New Jersey, yet few updates are provided today. While this lack of conversation around the effects would imply that everything has been resolved since the storm, there are still communities, people, family, and entire ecosystems suffering.

 Why do we write about particular environmental/climate events and not others?

Professor Wood posed this question to the Weather, Climate, and Society class. It’s a loaded question to answer, but I think it has to do with the fact that the events with the most detrimental effects are those that lead to cascades of system failures that people don’t want to take responsibility for or recognize. Furthermore, it’s simply not how traditional histories have been told. As Professor Wood highlighted, Humans have a tradition of leaving environmental influences and consideration out of the conversation.

Throughout history there has been a gap in records resulting from the lack of consideration the impact of the environment has in these events. If this connection is made, the benefits that could come from understanding and accounting for these chain reactions throughout society and our environment would be revolutionary. Telecommunication and consideration need to be established to revolutionize the way society accounts for human affairs. Gillen D’arcy wood made the point that we need to think more tele-connectivly or else we will miss a lot without models of remote causation, and I agree. There’s a whole world and history of environmental factors that are only beginning to be focused in on. Things like conservation regulation and policy, clean energy, and different climate change efforts have increased in recent years, but they have not taken the revolutionary jump that would be required to conquer climate change (a comparable parallel to Tambora according to Professor Wood). Institutionalizing tele-connective thought between human affairs and environmental factors would be a huge, revolutionary step towards better solutions.