The eruption of Tambora according to Professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood did not just create volatile conditions over three years for the region it originated in, but the eruption also significantly altered the course of history for large parts of the world. For Professor Wood, these findings all began with looking through the historical record and asking questions. The period between 1810 and 1820 was a decade with monumental historical events and in particular the Western Academy of thought characterized this period with the fall of Napoleon, the fall of the British in North America, and the subsequent beginnings of prominence for the United States through continental expansion and industrialization. On the other hand, the Western Academy of thought also characterizes this time as a less significant period of widespread famine, economic turmoil, and mass displacement. With that in mind, what makes Professor Wood revolutionary is his detour from established historical analysis of the period toward those major historical events and he is more interested in the depth of human suffering experienced. With looking at the human suffering experienced Wood characterizes this period as being the result of a natural disaster that had altered the weather systems of the world creating chaos. Looking at the concept of tele-connectivity, Wood proposes the idea that for this period the social pressures that came to be within human communities was a direct result of environmental catastrophe. Now think about the idea Wood is proposing for a minute. That the human suffering that historians for a hundred years characterized as the result of the shock of war could be the side effects of a volcano. Even more noteworthy, Wood proposes that the information to the cause of all this suffering was also directly in the face of historians through art and literature.
In the midst of all this historical analysis and fundamental restructuring of what this means to our understanding of the relationship between weather and human conditions I began to question in my head to what does this mean to our present day situation? Or more specifically, even when we understand the tele-connectivity between weather and human communities what does this do for our conditions? Many of the students in the room voiced their concerns with our current climate crisis and the conditions that create displacement.Seemingly, it is widely understood that extreme fluctuations or even moderate fluctuations in weather create volatile conditions for people all over the world. So if this connection between weather and suffering is understood I guess my question is is the notion of tele-connectivity active or passive, and more specifically is it just an idea we acknowledge but do nothing about. In a world where ideas are presented as revolutionary but do not move past the institutional or academically bound stage, my question is what does the historical account of Tambora do for current issues of weather fluctuation and suffering? To me the ideas presented by Wood give us a platform to restructure our understandings of historical conditions, but it does not move much farther into the realm of discussions on climate change for me personally. So how do we shape these new understandings into revolution.