Like everything else in the world, climate change has a long history. Far from being something discovered only recently by instruments of modern science, the warming of the Earth’s climate has been known about for a long time, and suspected for an even longer time before that. But who made the discovery that the planet is warming, and under what circumstances? The answers might surprise you. Many of the people involved in the story of climate change were Northwesterners, or had some connection to the region. Climate, how it changes and the quest to understand it, have touched the Northwest in many ways. Even beyond individual people who have shaped its history, like climate scientists Roger Revelle (born in Seattle) and Jennifer Francis (educated at UW), numerous places, institutions and events in the Northwest loom large in the story of climate change. Crater Lake, Lewis and Clark, the Hanford plant, salmon, the wildfire events of 2015 and 2017: all of these have something to do with the history of climate change, whether recent or distant. This talk will fill in some of the murky background of climate history, and showcase how the Northwest is connected to it.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Sean Munger is a historian, attorney and consultant specializing in the intersection of law and climate change. After practicing law in the Portland, Oregon area for many years, he returned to school to study environmental history, and later founded Centric Law, the consulting division of the Rose Law Firm of Lake Oswego, Oregon. He represents clients in the sustainability, renewable energy and climate change community. He also speaks and teaches on subjects involving history, climate change and the law.
Sean is an internationally published historian, with a focus on the history of climate and climate change. He writes and produces a historical podcast, Second Decade, on the Recorded History Podcast Network, and he also teaches online history classes on a wide variety of subjects. While at the University of Oregon, Sean developed and taught an innovative course on the history of climate change. His work has been featured in academic and legal journals in the United States and Europe. He is also a novelist, having published in the horror and science fiction genres.
Sean holds a Ph.D. in environmental history from the University of Oregon and a J.D. from Tulane Law School.