As old as the weather
Last year was the hottest year in recorded history, the World Meteorological Organization declared at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in Dubai in November, generating heated discussions on climate change across the world. But climate change has been an issue for not only contemporary humans but also for ancient civilizations. And the scholars who attended the fifth Shanghai Archaeology Forum suggest that we may be able to take inspiration and insight from their experiences. The forum, organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Shanghai municipal government, under the theme "Archaeology of Climate Change and Social Sustainability", brought together about 200 professionals from 40 countries and regions. The forum was inaugurated in 2013 as an international platform highlighting cultural heritage's contemporary significance through lectures, group discussions and field trips to museums and archaeological sites. "Understanding our past, particularly through the lens of archaeology, can yield invaluable insights into social adaptation to long-term climate change. Ancient societies also faced substantial challenges brought by climate change and adopted diverse strategies to cope with and adapt to these changes. Natural climate archives and archaeological records help us model and predict how climate change can shape and transform our lives, helping us search for sustainable trajectories toward the future," the executive committee explains in an official statement.