The Earth Transformed: An Untold History | Peter Frankopan in conversation with Yuvan Aves

Jaipur Literature Festival
22 Feb 202448:56

Summary

TLDRIn this thought-provoking discussion, Peter Frankopan explores the intricate connections between human history and the natural world. He emphasizes the importance of considering climate and environmental factors in understanding historical events and societal changes. Drawing on a range of examples from different periods and regions, Frankopan highlights how these elements have shaped human actions and decisions, leading to significant transformations. He also discusses the role of human agency and the impact of natural disasters, climate change, and resource management on the rise and fall of empires and societies. The conversation underscores the value of a holistic approach to history, one that integrates diverse factors and perspectives to gain a more nuanced understanding of our past and present.

Takeaways

  • 🌧️ The speaker appreciates the rain as a great primer for the session, symbolizing the connection between weather and human activities.
  • 📚 The speaker envies Peter's students, highlighting the importance of understanding human agency and climate's role in history.
  • 🌍 The discussion emphasizes the need to consider the Earth's transformation and human impact on the environment as part of historical study.
  • 🤔 The process of inquiry in history involves questioning conventional narratives and considering the influence of climate and nature on historical events.
  • 🏆 The speaker's experience as a historian focuses on the interplay between human actions and the natural world, particularly in relation to climate change.
  • ⚽️ The analogy of Manchester City's success due to its ownership by a sovereign wealth fund illustrates the impact of natural resources on historical outcomes.
  • 🌊 The importance of considering the natural world, such as ocean currents and volcanic eruptions, in shaping human history is emphasized.
  • 🌬️ The concept of 'shock events' like natural disasters and pandemics is discussed, highlighting their significant influence on societal structures and responses.
  • 📈 The speaker discusses the 'Little Ice Age' and its impact on global colonization, technology, and societal changes.
  • 🌱 The interconnectedness of global history is stressed, with India playing a pivotal role in connecting different historical narratives.
  • 💡 The speaker advocates for a holistic view of history that incorporates environmental factors and the need for sustainable practices.

Q & A

  • What are the two main reasons the speaker envies Peter's students?

    -The speaker envies Peter's students because of Peter's approach to history, which emphasizes human agency and its interaction with climate and nature, and because Peter asks different questions of the past that lead to unique insights.

  • How does the speaker describe the traditional portrayal of history in schools?

    -The speaker describes traditional history education as focusing heavily on 'great men' and a few notable women, with little attention given to broader environmental and societal factors.

  • What is the significance of the term 'Heisenberg's uncertainty principle' in the context of the transcript?

    -The term is used to illustrate the idea that our understanding of reality is shaped by the questions we ask, and that our perception of history can change when we start questioning it from different angles, such as considering the impact of climate and nature.

  • What is the importance of considering natural resources and environmental factors in historical analysis?

    -Considering natural resources and environmental factors helps to provide a more holistic and accurate understanding of historical events and societal changes, as these elements have played crucial roles in shaping human history.

  • How does the speaker connect the natural world and historical events?

    -The speaker connects the natural world and historical events by discussing how weather systems, resource exploitation, and environmental changes have influenced the rise and fall of empires, the outcomes of wars, and the development of civilizations.

  • What is the significance of the 'little ice age' in the speaker's discussion?

    -The 'little ice age' is significant because it represents a period of climatic change that had far-reaching effects on societies, including influencing migration patterns, trade, and the development of technologies.

  • How does the speaker view the impact of climate change on future generations?

    -The speaker views the impact of climate change on future generations as a pressing issue, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of the interconnectedness of climate, society, and the natural world to address the challenges ahead.

  • What is the main message the speaker hopes to convey through his book?

    -The main message the speaker hopes to convey is the importance of understanding the complex interplay between human history, climate, and the natural world, and the need to rethink our approach to these issues in order to create a more sustainable future.

  • How does the speaker describe the role of historians in addressing environmental challenges?

    -The speaker describes the role of historians as crucial in explaining how we have reached current environmental issues and in helping to reevaluate our understanding of history through the lens of climate and nature.

  • What is the significance of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan for the speaker's argument?

    -The earthquake and tsunami in Japan serve as an example of how natural disasters can have wide-ranging and unexpected consequences, such as the destabilization of the Fukushima nuclear facility, and highlight the interconnectedness of global systems.

  • How does the speaker address the issue of biodiversity loss and mass extinction?

    -The speaker addresses biodiversity loss and mass extinction by discussing how historical events and human actions have contributed to these issues and by emphasizing the need to consider the natural world and its limits in our decision-making processes.

Outlines

00:00

🌧️ Rain as a Historical Primer

The speaker begins by likening the rain to a primer for the session, expressing envy for Peter's students. The speaker's admiration stems from two main reasons: the transformation of historical narratives to include climate and nature, and the novel questions posed to history that reveal different insights. The speaker also recalls Heisenberg's notion of reality being shaped by our questioning and applies it to Peter's approach to history.

05:01

🌍 Human and Natural Agency in History

The speaker discusses the traditional focus on human agency in historical narratives and the neglect of natural influences such as climate and resource exploitation. The speaker criticizes the narrow view of history centered on individuals and advocates for a broader perspective that considers environmental factors. Using examples like Manchester City's success and the British Empire, the speaker illustrates how natural resources have shaped historical outcomes.

10:03

🌊 The Influence of Natural Forces on Human History

The speaker delves into the impact of natural forces such as solar flares, ocean currents, and volcanic eruptions on human history. The discussion includes the concept of societal shocks leading to collapse and the importance of understanding these forces in the context of history. The speaker also touches on the interconnectedness of global networks and the fragility they introduce, using examples like the Fukushima nuclear incident and the little ice age.

15:04

🏰 Collapse, Recovery, and the Role of Climate

The speaker explores the theme of societal collapse and recovery, emphasizing the role of climate and environmental factors. Using historical examples like the Mayan civilization and the Bengal famine, the speaker illustrates how climatic changes and natural disasters can lead to significant societal shifts. The speaker also discusses the impact of the little ice age on European colonization and the interconnectedness of global trade and environmental conditions.

20:05

📜 Historical Texts and the Natural World

The speaker discusses the deep contemplation of the natural world in historical texts and traditions, such as the sacred writings in India. The speaker highlights the importance of rain as a divine sign in various cultures and the connection between climate patterns and political stability. The speaker also touches on the historical efforts to conserve resources and the role of religious and imperial edicts in environmental management.

25:05

🌿 Nature, Sacrality, and the Cycles of History

The speaker reflects on the historical connection between nature and sacrality, noting a recurring pattern where civilizations draw from natural elements for their spiritual beliefs, then forget this connection, leading to environmental degradation. The speaker draws parallels to modern climate activism as a form of new organized religion, with a message of urgency and potential apocalyptic consequences. The speaker also examines the role of priestly classes in controlling knowledge and their influence on societal structures.

30:07

🏫 The Role of Education in Addressing Global Challenges

The speaker discusses the importance of education in addressing global challenges, particularly in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. The speaker criticizes the current state of higher education for its exclusivity and suggests a more inclusive approach. The speaker also highlights the need for politicians and policymakers to be educated on issues such as social inequality, urban regeneration, and sustainable development, and expresses hope for a tipping point where society takes the environment more seriously.

35:09

🌐 Earth System Boundaries and the Future

The speaker addresses the concept of Earth system boundaries, highlighting the interconnectedness of various environmental issues beyond just climate change. The speaker emphasizes the importance of considering all aspects of the natural world and the need for hope amidst the challenges. The speaker also discusses the potential for innovation and research in tackling these issues, as well as the need for collective action and preparedness for future challenges.

40:09

📚 The Craft of Historical Writing

The speaker shares insights on the process of historical writing, emphasizing the importance of passion and personal connection to the subject matter. The speaker encourages young historians to explore a wide range of topics and find the one that resonates most with them. The speaker also discusses the challenges of publishing and the need to persist in the face of rejection.

45:11

🌌 The Younger Dryas and Prehistoric Civilizations

The speaker responds to a question about the Younger Dryas period and the theory of prehistoric civilizations, expressing skepticism about the idea of a sudden shift in human development around 10,000 BC. The speaker advocates for a more nuanced understanding of the gradual changes in human societies and lifestyles, and cautions against oversimplifying complex historical processes.

🌱 Learning from the Past for Climate Action

The speaker addresses a young person's question about knowledge from past civilizations that could help in the fight against climate change. The speaker affirms that there is much to learn from history and encourages the younger generation to engage with historical knowledge to inform future action. The speaker also promotes the importance of historical research in understanding and addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Human agency

Human agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and make decisions that can influence the course of events. In the context of the video, it is emphasized that while human actions have a significant impact on the environment and climate, it's crucial to recognize that humans are not the only factor; natural elements like climate and nature also play a substantial role in shaping history.

💡Climate change

Climate change refers to significant, long-term changes in the patterns of temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions on Earth. It is a central theme in the video, with the speaker discussing how past societies and civilizations have been affected by shifts in climate, and how these changes have influenced human history and the natural world.

💡Environmental history

Environmental history is an academic discipline that studies the interaction between humans and the natural environment over time. In the video, the speaker advocates for an approach to history that integrates the study of human actions with the broader context of environmental changes, emphasizing the interconnectedness of these elements.

💡Sustainability

Sustainability refers to the ability to maintain or support a process or state over the long term, without depleting resources or causing harm to the environment. The video highlights the importance of considering sustainability in historical contexts and its relevance to current challenges, such as managing water resources and addressing climate change.

💡Globalization

Globalization is the process by which businesses, ideas, and cultures increasingly interact and integrate on a global scale. In the video, the speaker examines the historical context of globalization, particularly during periods like the medieval warm period, and how it influenced the spread of technologies, religions, and diseases across different regions.

💡Natural resources

Natural resources are materials and energy sources found in nature that can be used for economic gain or to support life. The video emphasizes the historical exploitation of natural resources and its impact on the environment, as well as the need for a more sustainable approach to resource management.

💡Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage encompasses the tangible and intangible aspects of a society's past and present, including its history, traditions, and expressions. In the video, the speaker reflects on how cultural heritage is shaped by and shapes our understanding of history, particularly in relation to the environment and human-nature interactions.

💡Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness refers to the idea that various elements or systems within a context are linked and influence each other. The video underscores the interconnectedness of human societies with the natural world and how historical events cannot be fully understood in isolation from environmental factors.

💡Technological advancements

Technological advancements are developments or improvements in technology that lead to increased efficiency, capabilities, or new possibilities. In the video, the speaker discusses how technological changes throughout history have been influenced by and have influenced environmental conditions and societal structures.

💡Shock theory

Shock theory is a concept that suggests societies are often significantly affected or changed by unexpected or extreme events, leading to disruptions or transformations. In the video, the speaker uses shock theory to explain how climatic events, natural disasters, and other shocks can lead to major shifts in societal structures and historical trajectories.

Highlights

The discussion emphasizes the importance of considering human agency and climate's role in shaping history.

Peter's session highlights the need to ask different questions of the past to reveal unique insights, such as the impact of climate on historical events.

The narrative contrasts the traditional focus on 'great men' in history with a more comprehensive view that includes environmental factors.

The speaker's research process involved examining the beginning of history and reevaluating the significance of geological formations and ecosystems.

The speaker brings attention to the exploitation of natural resources and its implications on history, such as the impact of oil on the British Empire.

The speaker discusses the interconnectedness of global history, including the influence of environmental factors like solar flares and volcanic eruptions on human events.

The conversation highlights the importance of being prepared for environmental shocks, drawing parallels with driving at different speeds and the ability to react.

The discussion touches on the 'Little Ice Age' and its effects on global colonization and European history, including changes in art, literature, and technology.

The speaker notes the influence of climatic changes on historical events such as the Bengal famine and the East India Company's collapse.

The conversation underscores the significance of understanding the natural world's role in shaping human history and the interconnectedness of global events.

The speaker reflects on the importance of local solutions to environmental challenges and the potential of indigenous and small-scale communities.

The discussion includes the impact of climate change on modern warfare and the energy-intensive nature of military activities.

The speaker addresses the role of historians in connecting local histories into global narratives and the importance of India's role in these stories.

The conversation emphasizes the need for a holistic view of environmental challenges, beyond just climate change, including water stress and biodiversity loss.

The speaker expresses optimism for the future, despite the challenges, by highlighting the potential for innovation and the importance of education and policy-making.

The discussion concludes with the speaker's encouragement for the younger generation to learn from past civilizations and apply that knowledge to address current and future challenges.

Transcripts

play00:04

hello everyone today's rain I think was

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a great primer for Peter's

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session and you know when I studied

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history if I had this book I would have

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loved history and I I envy his students

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um for for two main reasons one is that

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the Earth

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transformed Des

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centers to to a good extent human agency

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I got to sh it at the back so you can

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see

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it there we go there we are yeah uh and

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and looks at a an agent who's much

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vaster which is climate and nature

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itself and secondly he asks a totally

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different set of questions to the past

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which then brings up a completely

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different set of

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Revelations uh where most of the search

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party is not and I was uh reading

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through this I was reminded of wner

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Heisenberg who said we don't see reality

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as it is but its aspect exposed to our

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questioning and Peter somewhere there's

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my first question what was your process

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of inquiry and questioning and uh

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research for this yeah well thank you

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you thank you jlf for inviting me to

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come to this fantastic festival and

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thank you all for being here I'm glad

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you're not just here because it's

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raining because the rain has stopped um

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it's a good very good question I mean

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this amazing Festival there's been two

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parallel themes I think one has been

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there's been a lot of discussion about

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climate and climate change the crisis

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renewable energy and then there's been

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Lots on literature history and so on and

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there's been not much relationship

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between these two right so we hear the

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history that I learned at school was

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about almost all of them great men a few

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great women Queen Elizabeth the first

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flying the flag for for women but that

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was about it and that kind of Netflix

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iation of History where we're only

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looking at individuals you there was a

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panel this morning about biographies and

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how to write biographies means that we

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will go through thinking about the past

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without ever

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considering weather conditions use of

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Natural Resources whether they're

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exploited or undere exploited overe

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exploited and these big themes of that

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are very boring for most people but for

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historians it's our bread and butter of

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things like Logistics soil sedimentation

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in rivers and ports um you know how

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people are thinking about the natural

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world it's very easy to forget because

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we we tend to prioritize is human agency

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but you know despite what we think we're

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not the only species on this planet and

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despite what we might think if we get

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our own if we destroy our own

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environment quickly enough there's going

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to be a lot fewer of us in the future so

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I think my job as a historian is to

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explain how it is that we've come to

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that bit in a beginning of a Bollywood

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film where Shah ruk Khan is hanging on

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to the skyscraper with one hand about to

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fall and the good news is shro Khan

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normally never Falls right that's what

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happens he saves the day but how is it

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that we've come to a point where we're

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talking about biodiversity loss a six

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mass extinction and then how have people

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in the past thought about periods of

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change which is what we're living

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through both of Technology the natural

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world uh new hierarchies inequalities

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and so on and so that the the process

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was how do I start at the beginning and

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as a historian I was I'm embarrassed

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that I have never really thought about

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geological formations the roles of

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ecosystem systems before humans history

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for me started with Mesopotamian

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civilization indis Valley and that's

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such a tiny tiny tiny fraction of the

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world's history and it over prioritizes

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human agency so those interactions of

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weather systems the natural world you

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know how our world exists even today I'm

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a football fan right unfortunately or

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fortunately my team is

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Chelsea um the current champion the best

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team in the world today is Manchester

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City and if I were to ask most people

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why they'd say they've got the best

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players uh they've got the best manager

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if you really enlightened you say they'

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got the best training staff the best

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nutritionists but the reason why

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Manchester city are the best team in the

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world is because they're owned by a

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sovereign wealth fund that sits on top

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of the one of the world's greatest

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hydrocarbon basins that was formed

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hundreds of millions of years ago and

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the gas that sits under that provides

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almost unlimited wealth for Abu Dhabi

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who owns Manchester City or part of Abu

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Dhabi to to to to buy the best place

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have the best facilities and those roles

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in which the natural world is always

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constant around us but we don't think

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about it goes through to everything the

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British Empire the great challenge of

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the British Empire in the 20th century

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was that although a quarter of the world

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was colored pink there was almost no oil

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and before 1900 oil wasn't really

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exploited in big commercial um

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quantities but in the from 1900 onwards

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it started to be and that helped explain

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the maps that were drawn in the Middle

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East that well you know they're here

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today to remind us of what happens of

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the search for Commodities and resources

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to think about the natural world to

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think about how it's exploited and also

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how the natural world shapes and

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dictates where we are is hugely

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important in a city like Jaipur where um

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you use 1.4 million liters of water

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every day in the city and you have one

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water source apart from the rains that

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came today you have the dam that's it so

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thinking about environmental envelopes

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thinking about the challenges and the

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opportunities that provides I think it's

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a it's a good starting point to think

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about um history as a whole um jumping

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on to that

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there are certain Central players in the

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book they include and one might never

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come across them in other history

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textbooks and that makes it unique solar

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fles and Minima uh microbial activity

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ocean currents um and and volcanic

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eruptions and how they shaped human

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history where there's some sense of oh

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we did this but no we were being peted

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you know that's that's the background

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which comes at me would you uh reflect

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on that well so our our planet has lots

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of very complex interconnected weather

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systems that they don't always behave in

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the way that we imagine and expect and

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they're highly highly complex um but

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there are certain some there are some

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certain rhythms that the Earth has in

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terms of the eccentricity of its orbit

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how the Sun behaves and so on that that

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shape the the world that we live in now

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as far as humans exist and and are are

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concerned the single biggest challenge

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to organized states are

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shocks um if you are caught unprepared

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for something then those shocks

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typically will tend to increase

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inequalities they will tend to lead to

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State disruption and you know one

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question I ask in my book a lot is when

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societies collapse uh that's bad for

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archaeologists right when people stop

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building big temples in tial in

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Guatemala that I write about the great

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Mayan world around about the year 8 or

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900 there's a whole system of of network

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collapses not just to do with climate

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changes there were there was a 70E

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uh unusually long drought period but all

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the overlapping ways in which uh the

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ways in which the lime plaster was would

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come off in when it did rain into water

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tanks that then poisoned populations

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with Mercury and Mercury we know is

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linked to violence it's linked to

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cognitive issues and so on um when those

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M temples stop being built that's a

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disaster if you're a historian of the

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Maya people it's really bad if you're a

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remember of the Mayan Elite um same with

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the temples in uh you know gangai Kola

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Forum this massive new Temple we heard

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about the cholas yesterday uh that's

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really bad but if you are peasant

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working in the fields the collapse of

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your priesthood and of your secular

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rulers may not necessarily be a bad

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thing in fact might be quite a good

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thing because the the the results of

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your labor don't flow to someone else so

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the the challenge I think is how to

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think about where States rise and fall

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who do they benefit how do networks that

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are look they look robust how can they

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suddenly collapse and the good new well

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the good or bad news is last time I was

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here in Jaipur four years ago was just

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as the pandemic was starting to shut us

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all down in 2020 and it turns out that a

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single event in a single City in a

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single country locked us all up for B

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best part of two years and did all those

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things inequality government debts huge

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shock incompetence wastage and has fed

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into this kind of brittle world that we

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see around us and so how you how you

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factor in climate and the natural world

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into much bigger things it's really

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important to have Nuance this where my

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book is quite long um but it's important

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I think to be reentering away from it's

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not just decisions made in Delhi in

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London or by Donald Trump or whoever it

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might be but these highly complex

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interconnected networks across natural

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worlds and everything else too I think

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the shock Theory explains I mean it it's

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just coming as a revelation where if you

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look at Indian lawmaking you look at the

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environment protection act it came after

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the bopal gas tragedy you look at a

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bunch of other things something has to

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people don't seem to uh you know act

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preemptively but something shocks and

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then it comes well I'll give an example

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so um the the awful earthquake off the

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coast of Japan that that um impacted the

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terrible tsunami um uh that that then

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led to the destabilization of Fukushima

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uh nuclear facility as a direct result

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of that the new anti-nuclear lobber in

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Germany which was extremely has always

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been very powerful the green lobby in

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Germany is very powerful and very

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successful in translating election

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results into seats in Parliament and to

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being part of the government uh decided

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this showed that nuclear power the

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dangers of nuclear power and Angela

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Merkel who was the belluard chancellor

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at the time did what lots of politicians

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do you you move and you take the the

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best ideas of your Rivals right and

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maybe that's a good thing in democracies

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U but she announced two weeks afterwards

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that the German nucle industry would be

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shut down and as a result German has

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Germany has a still a very high my

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manufacturing base very energy intensive

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uh the most logical place to replace

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that energy shortage was by building new

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pipelines from Russia and that

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dependency on Russian energy was about

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55% before the Russian invasion of

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Ukraine and so the process of that Putin

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had to think about what would be the

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implications of a Russian invasion

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military operation as he call special

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military operation uh was that Europe

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would starve and Europe would freeze and

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that was to do with thinking about

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geology of course but also about these

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shock events that are deeply deeply

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connected so you're exactly right youan

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when you when you are not prepared for

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things and then you're caught by

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surprise you tend to react badly and

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sometimes dangerously I suppose it's

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like driving a car you don't get to do

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this in jaipore except for late at night

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or early in the morning you tend not to

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be able to drive at 70 or 80 miles an

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hour uh but if you are driving fast and

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something bad bad happens your

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opportunity to correct it are limited if

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you're driving at 10 m an hour uh then

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you're fine so preparing for those acts

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are are important and you know again you

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mentioned volcanoes that the main us U

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Volcan volcano observatory in monoa in

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Hawaii one of the world's massive super

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volcanoes put out a press statement in

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December 2022 which said monola is

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waking up and it's quoted Benjamin

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Franklin rather ominously saying if you

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fail to prepare you prepare to fail so

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all of these things around us pathogenic

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diseases pandemics volcanic eruptions uh

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earthquakes uh the ways in which we're

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highly connected to each other uh makes

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us all hyper fragile and when you start

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to look at things connections like the

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Silk Roads when you think about networks

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in pre-colombian Americas if you look at

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uh the ways in which uh trans Saharan

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traffic has been arranged over Millennia

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then things can fall and fall very very

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quickly and that comes us a surprise

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because most people think that Empires

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are robust and they're large and they're

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stable but it doesn't work that way if I

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might take a specific period which which

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I found very deeply interesting

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interesting and and and uh you know

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uncovering of many things that period

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between 15th century and 18th century

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where uh it's called the little ice age

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and you specifically talk about the uh

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Atlantic Meridian oscillation there's an

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ocean current which reverses itself and

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completely changes whatever is happening

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in Europe including movement from there

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and deaths and

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uh would that be a nice thing to talk

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about you know great yeah I mean so we

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historians we argue a lot about names

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and and if you were to ask my colleagues

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who work on this all the time what the

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little ice age is and when does it start

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and finish there'd be as many answers

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there are people on the stage but

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broadly speaking there's a period

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between around about, 1550 and 1800 give

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or take where we see on in many parts of

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the world not all parts of the world but

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but we see um uh much cooler conditions

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for all sorts of different reasons

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partly to do with in the 1590s a set of

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volcanic eruptions about five big ones

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that creates in the northern hemisphere

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the coldest decade for the last 2,000

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years and that has lots of implications

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and impacts one is that it's much harder

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to heat buildings so you have rooms seem

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to become smaller or they become smaller

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um over the course of the 1600s partly

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to do with the fact that um that you

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need less energy to heat them uh one a

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bunch of clever Scholars suggest that

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with smaller rooms the capacity for

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gossip goes up because you can talk

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unobserved and that that leads into to

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the ways in which narrative histories in

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which poetry in which the literary

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tradition start to change smaller rooms

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require different kind of art to be hung

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on the wall so there are lots of things

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that might flow from the fact that it's

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cold or it might be that those were

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flowing anyway and the fact that it's

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cold is completely irrelevant but the

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key I think in in this as a as a period

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is it's a it's a 300E period where

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European Footprints expand globally so

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it's a period of intense competition in

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our small continent of Europe highly

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unstable for many many reasons from 1350

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until more or less the start of the 20th

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century there wasn't a single decade

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that didn't involve major confrontation

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between European powers sometimes in in

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pondicherry sometimes in other parts of

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the world some in the Caribbean but

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often in Europe itself so one of the

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other themes you see alongside cooler

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conditions anxieties about migration uh

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you know we find graffiti in in

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Elizabethan graveyards in the 1590s

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saying we're going to come for anybody

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who's Jewish or foreign because you are

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like the Dutch you steal our women you

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take away our food and you feed

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yourselves the ideas of xenophobia and

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the the poisonous things that come with

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anxieties and shortages um you know the

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interesting ways in which the later

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Shakespeare plays involve winter and win

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and coldness and so on Winter's taale of

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course being one of those but I think

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that what what happens alongside this is

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you find new technologies that come

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alongside change and a lot of those are

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to do with

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militarization some are to do with

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gunpowder some are to do with

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improvements in metal work some are to

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do with in terms of better training so

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typically battles between European

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armies in the 15 1600s will have a few

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thousand casualties and they'll be over

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quite quickly because you can't load

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your gun fast enough by 1700 they

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involve tens of thousands of casualties

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and they allow for Mass use of force so

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in this period of of climatic change

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when transatlantic trade is is booming

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if you're European shipping of of

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enslaved peoples from Africa in

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particular to um North America South

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America and the Caribbean and then the

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expansions into Europe then calculations

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about wind speed and how well you can

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sail in Westerly or easterly winds makes

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a big difference and there's a

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differential of about 80 kilm per day if

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you're sailing into a Westerly wind or

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into easterly wind these shift roughly

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every 15 years so some of these things I

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think are are setting a scene for well

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it's not just a little ice age it's an

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age of colonizations by the Northern

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Hemisphere lots of interest about saying

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the reason why Europeans are able to

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dominate the world is because people in

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cold climates Thrive and people in

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tropical climates don't and uh you've

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heard Mary bid talk about the Roman

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Empire you doesn't take you much to know

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the Roman Empire was a nice warm place

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you know typically you wore nice leather

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dress uh you sit in the hills of Tuscany

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today drinking Bros um but those sort of

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ways in which the world interconnected

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in a period of globalization where the

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intense anxieties around calorie

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provision the redistribution of global

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crops were all part of a of a discrete

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period where for lots of reasons for of

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periods in the northern hemisphere there

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were cooler conditions but you know from

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the little I agage point of from the

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perspective of India What mattered much

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more were the failure of monsoon Reigns

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in the 1760s that lays the conditions

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for uh what's known as the Bengal famine

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the deaths of well millions and maybe

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many many millions and then leads to the

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rupture the collapse if Willie D rimple

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about the East India Company which is

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directly connected to Declaration of

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Independence in Northern American

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colonies so none of it is driven by the

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fact that it's a bit cold or there's

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lots of volcanic eruptions but factoring

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in wind speeds factoring in ocean

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temperatures factoring in improvements

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in Technologies lots of inter in

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European slavers to work out how do they

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drive up their profits by improving

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sanitation so that they even more people

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can be enslaved and shipped across to

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work on lands that are more fertile in

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the 1700s onwards than they were in the

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1500s for example the Spanish in Florida

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kept writing home for the first hundred

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years saying Florida is absolutely

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bloody freezing there's nothing we can

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grow here it's a useless piece of land

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and I I when I look at Florida or hear

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about Florida that's where old people go

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to rre in the sunshine and you grow grow

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oranges and you play golf and the idea

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this was a freezing cold place doesn't

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make didn't make any sense until you

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start to think well what what were the

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conditions at that time so the iage can

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be a capture for lots of different ideas

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and themes but layering in the the

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Transformations and the changes into

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whatever aspect of the the histories

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you're looking at you know I just think

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it's a factor that's very very easy to

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overlook okay um I think one of the

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beautiful things about the book is that

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you show interconnectedness as as the

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Earth and all the various politics and

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you know climatic changes as a whole and

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I wonder if we can speak a little bit

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more about India which which is a common

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thread and you speak quite a bit about

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it yeah that's a small

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question I've already given quite long

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answers so we could be here for a

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while well you know I think you start at

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the beginning I I suppose with the with

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the written text the sacred the sacred

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vadas onwards and then the upanishads

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and the ways in which writers in the

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past are thinking deeply about the

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natural world and often in ideas about

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Harmony and of uh of interactions with

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the Divine and in the in the Hindu

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traditions in the indic Traditions a bit

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like in most other Faith systems the

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appearance of rain from the skies on you

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know when it's been um uh too hot is is

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a sign of divine benevolence it's a sign

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of the right prayers being said by the

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right people in the right way the right

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form of living morality in China for

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example the famous Mandate of Heaven

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that the emperor carries is is very

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closely connected to um uh predictable

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climatic sequences partly because

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agrarian economies rely on food being

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grown and if you have drought you find

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it hard to grow food and if you have

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floods you have crops that are washed

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away so lots of States lots of belief

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systems are very interested in those

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interactions between the Divine trying

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to work out why is there sometimes

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suffering what have we done wrong uh why

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are we being rewarded in connections to

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moralities so those kinds of ideas I

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think when you then start to move

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forward in time and you see edicts like

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the great Asoka saying we need to have

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interdictions on cutting down the

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forests we need to Marshal our resources

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carefully you know we shouldn't have the

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slaughter of innocent animals we need to

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protect uh resources some of that is

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about Imperial or Royal control over

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money and and ritual and of power but

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some of it is also about a much more

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thoughtful engagement about making sure

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there's enough for everybody to go

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around and you know then when when you

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move onwards you know again I I read

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things like uh vamir Mira writing about

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in the gup to dynasties writing about

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what happens when the sun's rays are

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unusually weak and the crops can't grow

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and it feels like you're living in a

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ghost world and he's writing this at a

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time when again there is a sequence of

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eruptions in the 530s 540s of our of our

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era uh that are directly connected to

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the really big pandemic of the period

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that has an impact here in Northern

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India too which we can measure um where

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you see the collapse of trading networks

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of what's known as the justinianic

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plague a plague that spreads out

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probably from folai in um in Central

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Asia is carried because probably those

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cold climates Drive the animals that can

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help transmit the pathogen into context

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that they need to find more food and

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typically they'll come closer to human

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settlements and when that happens the

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ignition like with the bat in Wuhan

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takes everything in front of it and the

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yesinia the the Y pesus the Yia pesus

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pathogen can establish itself in irat

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Colony for 150 years you know if it's

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established and it's spread not just by

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rats who take all the blame in histories

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here in India the rat has a very

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different role to how it has in Western

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histories but all sorts of different

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animals can can spread these pandemics

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and so the the questions about why a

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diseas has come from who is being

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punished and why all very closely I

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think connected Into Climate

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instabilities and shocks and then you

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know again we like like I said with the

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with the cholas one of the things that's

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most interesting about the great Chola

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Empire of Southern India and its

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expansions and pushes eastwards is that

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it doesn't do so on its own it's this is

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in a period it's called the the medieval

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warm period that has the same problems

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that the little ice age has too in in

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having the evidence to support where

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it's it St the stability but the Chola

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world you can't understand without

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seeing it in connection with the K world

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the world of pagan the great Abbasid

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Empire the s in China uh the late antic

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the Revival of the Byzantine empire in

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the Eastern Mediterranean and these

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these these worlds all mushroom together

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in a Glo in an age of globalization and

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and the Indian subcontinent is a pivot

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that connects the North and the South

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and the East and the West the mar time

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connections and of course more important

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the Overland ones because the Dem

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demographies of Asia are Inland

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particularly into the Persian world into

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China and into Central Asia these great

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Metropolis cities the centers of

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learning so so India fits and the Indian

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subcontinent the different dynasties fit

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into thinking globally and of course

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thinking regionally but it's a sort of

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fundamental part of how we think about

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history in my profession as historians

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we've not been good enough about

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connecting Indian histories into these

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great Global narratives because it's

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quite hard to do and it's quite hard to

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not just be Regional but to think over

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long periods of time but you know the

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Indian experiences in in in terms of

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consumption in terms of expenditure in

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terms of the ways in which the natural

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world are one of the great stories of

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our common World histories and you know

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it's it's great to see how many young

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historians here in Indian universities

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are working on these topics um because

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it's and in fact was almost LED from

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Scholars here um thinking about how to

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engage better with the natural world and

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its teachings yeah okay you know one

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chapter which was specifically

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interesting and I and I went through

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multiple times was uh that on nature and

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sacrality and

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u a common sort of occurrence seemed to

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be that the Genesis of any sacrality

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religion Drew from nature in some sense

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and then forgot about it drew from it

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forgot about it and at every age there

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seem to be you know who we now see as

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the the Fridays of future movement the

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extin I mean there was there was

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somebody or some text or some poet

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saying we are screwing up we got to stop

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or that could have even been an emperor

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and and and you speak about everything

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from Gilgamesh to China to and uh and

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and that repeating sense

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of things have vanished and and as such

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things weren't put to a stop and that

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cycle seems to have continued well it it

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continues now I mean you could think of

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some of the climate activists I have a

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huge amount of respect for as a form of

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new organized religion you know there's

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we have priests and pretests of this

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movement a lot of them very young U but

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the message of

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apocalyptic uh consequences of

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thoughtlessness is is one that has lots

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of Echoes from different different

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belief systems way back into the past I

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suppose that you know as a as someone

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who's also an economic historian I

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suppose the kind of starting point for

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me is looking at at how priests would

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established control of the secal message

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is what I suppose you're also asking

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about and some of that has to do with

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the establishment of writing systems the

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code ification of knowledge the

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protection of knowledge

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universities they are specifically

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exclusive you know they they they don't

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let people in that's like my University

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you have to apply but most people don't

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get in you know we could be teaching

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everybody for free but we can't we don't

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we don't do our courses online we charge

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people we control the message please I

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hope my vice Chancellor isn't watching

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because I could be in trouble for saying

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that but you know I think that the the

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the story of religions is also about the

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establishment of a Priestly class often

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with a dual balance withing L power that

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controls messages and enforces them and

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establishes sacred texts that have are

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in harmony the tripitaka tradition of

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Buddhism is about saying there's one set

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of texts you can't have divergences you

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know the Christian faith where I come

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from uh again the church councils that

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insist what the profession of Faith

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looks like insist on what the messages

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are what counts as heresy tears the

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church apart repeatedly many many many

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times it's the same thing with the

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judaic tradition same thing with the

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Holy Quran so we see this in in many

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many different ways about who carries

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the message and who has the right to to

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protect knowledge and you know for

play26:04

example in the in the indic Traditions

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not just in Hinduism the complexity of

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those stories is a barrier right it's it

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it's designed to the only people who

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have spent a long time

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studying the the the Raman the

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mahabarata vas Etc can really truly

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understand these works and that's a way

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of saying that you need to study and

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that that power should go to the people

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who control those and often those fit

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into building of structures of temples

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agricultural control and often becomes a

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power rival to the church so or to to

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the to the state so we found for example

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in um in Pagan in the Kim world we were

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just now in in Neil Camp not too far

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away from about about an hour's drive

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from here where so many temples get

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built that there's a Suffocation process

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that kills economic production because

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these temples control so much land they

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have so many tax concessions that

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they're supporting so many priests who

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are unproductive economic units because

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people like us who have to study we

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write books but we don't build roads we

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don't dig sewage we don't recycle other

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people's waste we uh so uh and that

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means that the existence of a priesthood

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is very important in that context of of

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sacral messages and how the emergence of

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a intellectual class uh sits alongside

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um economic power is kind of one of the

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stories I think that is unique to

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civilize Urban societies it doesn't look

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the same in many nomadic or oral

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traditions where you have shamans who

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play a role but the shaman is usually a

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very small part demographically of of a

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of a wider tribal unit there's normally

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one or series of of whereas priesthoods

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there are often thousands you know

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thousands and thousands of Priests of

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rabbis of imams of holy men and the more

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you have of those the harder those U

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balances of intellectual inequality as

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well as well as economic that's if if we

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can uh look at that a bit more deeply

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the sort of interplay between uh climate

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uh and and inequality and what that uh

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sort of a relationship is and uh the

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perhaps a related question would be you

play28:14

know if we could speak about the latter

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part of the book The Modern period um

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and you speak about a range of

play28:19

conferences and treaties which make

play28:21

these big decisions and do they trickle

play28:24

down to the ground um well you've

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written about this what do you think um

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I I'd give a short answer to that but

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but please i' I'd like toar what you

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think yeah in some sense uh I've felt

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and I'm I'm definitely not a historian

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so I think good Solutions or good

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practices relationalities are unique so

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they sort of M emerge locally but at the

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same time they seem to be vulnerable to

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uh big forces so so so I'm at a tussle

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you know so you know what's the middle

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path uh would be the question I'd ask

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myself yeah you know I think I think

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local communities wherever they are

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normally are quite good at trying to

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find Solutions you know that you find

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that with indigenous peoples tribal

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peoples Forest peoples small villages

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tend to be quite good because the

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interconnections of kinship the

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interconnections of ritual and the fact

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that everybody is linked in together um

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that that obviously can help you know my

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view is I'm I'm highly critical in my

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book about the problems that cities give

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us CI give us lots of wonderful things

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they give us literature festivals for

play29:29

one thing they give us the opportunity

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to meet each other to buy and sell

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things to listen to new ideas to

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exchange genetics which I'm not going to

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talk about again today but you know the

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way which we can meet each other and and

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have different relationships hugely

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wealthy but cities are also parasites

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because they are not producers they're

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consumers they drag in they have energy

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needs they have water needs they create

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problems here in Jaipur this morning the

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particulate matter is four times wh show

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deemed safe levels right so everybody

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here breathing this air we are

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experiencing shorter like in India in

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2018 1.6 million people died from fossil

play30:07

fuel complications to do with air

play30:08

pollution right that's a 18% of all

play30:11

deaths in 2018 globally have been

play30:13

attributed to air quality pollutions and

play30:16

so when you live

play30:18

intensively uh you tend to bet on a

play30:20

shortterm answer rather than the

play30:22

long-term one but most of the societies

play30:25

that I've spent my career being

play30:26

interested in pre-mongol step nomadic

play30:29

peoples oral Traditions are very very

play30:31

good at balancing environmental

play30:34

challenges because they have some

play30:36

resilience built in them and cities tend

play30:38

not to and perhaps it I think it's no

play30:39

coincidence that those histories of

play30:42

nomadic peoples from the Mongols through

play30:43

to the mugal here now you know the

play30:45

narrative changing in

play30:46

India uh you know has has always been

play30:50

highly prora very negative but these

play30:52

people are considered barbaric people

play30:53

who don't live in cities who don't want

play30:55

to have priests don't want to have

play30:56

libraries don't have universities but

play30:59

actually the sophistication of

play31:01

governance the sophistication of

play31:02

stability are are are in some way and

play31:05

the complexity are often hugely

play31:07

impressive to to look at so I think that

play31:10

trying to think through what are the

play31:12

costs of how we live um it's it's really

play31:15

important but you know here no one in

play31:16

jao wants the air quality to be worse no

play31:18

one will leave here and go I'm really

play31:20

pleased it's only four times not five

play31:21

times everyone thinks how do we make

play31:23

that happen and we're slightly at a log

play31:25

Jam now where most of us think well it's

play31:26

the government govern's job or it's the

play31:28

you know the the city's responsibility

play31:30

to impose new policies but I I hope that

play31:34

we're at some kind of Tipping Point

play31:36

where people are taking that envelope

play31:38

around us more seriously you know in

play31:40

Afghanistan in 2017 eight times more

play31:42

civilians died from air pollution than

play31:45

from um violence and attacks of any kind

play31:48

so you know it's it's how to implement

play31:50

and you know we did a panel this morning

play31:52

thinking about some very very small

play31:53

changes you know one of the thing I'm

play31:55

slightly obsessed about at the moment is

play31:57

is about lack of air conditioning in hot

play31:59

locations and I don't just mean India in

play32:02

New York City uh lots of exams get done

play32:05

in the in the height of the summer and

play32:06

poor neighborhoods and schools don't

play32:08

have AC and there was some big research

play32:11

published in the last couple of years

play32:12

that show that tens of thousands of

play32:14

students fail their graduation because

play32:15

they SAT exams on hot days right and we

play32:19

know that when it's hot your ability to

play32:20

concentrate your cognitive your memory

play32:22

recall all of things these things change

play32:24

when it's hot for every degree um

play32:27

there's a 6% rise in domestic violence

play32:29

here in India above 30 degrees

play32:30

Centigrade right this is all lots of

play32:33

Scholars working on things like this so

play32:35

one question would be why do we do exams

play32:36

in the middle of the summer should we

play32:38

have the the school Academic Year ending

play32:40

in December where it's cooler should we

play32:42

should we as a government prioritize

play32:44

putting AC into low-income schools to

play32:46

make sure that when kids sit exams

play32:48

they're doing it equally rather than

play32:50

kids in well established schools with

play32:51

good air conditioning have a genuine

play32:54

physical Advantage so some of these

play32:56

things can be quite small steps they

play32:59

quite a bit of bravery and they require

play33:00

our politicians who I you know we just

play33:02

heard Shashi theu to have a chance he's

play33:05

great not don't mean Shashi but Mr Theo

play33:07

I should say his Excellency um we need

play33:10

to give our politicians more of a chance

play33:12

to be educated you know so uh we have a

play33:15

school of government in Oxford where we

play33:17

are trying to encourage State leaders or

play33:20

or high representatives to spend two or

play33:22

three weeks every summer coming to

play33:23

Oxford to to learn what are the latest

play33:25

things in Social inequality in uh Urban

play33:29

regeneration in sustainable cities

play33:31

because if you are a policy maker or a

play33:33

lawmaker you've got no time to read and

play33:36

there's no structure to it you might

play33:37

pick up your book or my book and be

play33:38

inspired hopefully you will but having

play33:42

that educative process is is important

play33:44

for those who we vote into office in the

play33:46

Democratic world and and it's it's a

play33:48

it's a it's a lap it's a problem now I

play33:50

think about education how do we give

play33:52

more tools to people who can make policy

play33:54

to to do small things and to do them

play33:56

effectively but like I said I hope we're

play33:58

at a Tipping Point where there are lots

play33:59

of reason to be more optimistic in the

play34:01

coming years so you know my last

play34:04

question perhaps before we break for uh

play34:07

you know questions from the audience um

play34:09

what was beautiful um you know through

play34:12

different chapters you know recently the

play34:14

Earth commission released uh Quantified

play34:17

all the Earth system boundaries whether

play34:19

it be biodiversity or or aerosol loading

play34:21

pollution water biochemical flows and um

play34:25

not just climate climate is just one of

play34:27

them and perhaps the threshold of

play34:29

climate as yet has not been crossed you

play34:31

know that 1.2 de or whatever warming and

play34:34

uh you look at all of these things you

play34:36

look at all the Earth system boundaries

play34:38

whether it be nature Extinction of

play34:40

species or pollution as you spoke and

play34:42

water and uh and and to have woven

play34:45

together this this uh tapestry through

play34:48

which to see the past and uh what was

play34:51

that like and yeah well it's a very nice

play34:54

question CU it sounds like I did a good

play34:56

job so thank you I mean I I think you

play34:57

know the climate and the warming thing

play34:58

is gets all the headlines but you know

play35:00

here in India the primary thing is first

play35:02

of all water stress um so um in 2020 350

play35:06

billion cubic meters of water was taken

play35:08

from the groundwater in the northern

play35:10

Indian Plains and uh that along with

play35:13

glacia melt has moved the position of

play35:15

the North and the South Pole right that

play35:18

that's quite something uh in Europe 10

play35:20

years ago 19% of Europe was water

play35:23

stressed we've had a state of emergency

play35:25

announced in Catalonia around barel ER 3

play35:27

days ago to prevent people from using

play35:30

water in the way in which they're used

play35:31

to you know in my country where

play35:33

everything everyone knows that England

play35:35

didn't do very well in the World Cup

play35:36

cricket and I from what I heard we're

play35:38

not doing so well this afternoon in the

play35:39

Test match but the other thing everybody

play35:40

knows about England is it rains quite a

play35:41

lot but in the UK our expectations are

play35:45

that by 2030 our demand for water is

play35:49

going to exceed our um uh our ability to

play35:52

provide water by

play35:54

40% because we we're using more water to

play35:57

make things to wash to to do all these

play35:59

and there are finite supplies so we

play36:00

haven't built a single Reservoir we

play36:02

haven't built a single water capture

play36:04

program for 40 years in the in the UK

play36:06

and you know you see the dam here is

play36:08

shortages you see with our own eyes so

play36:11

water's a key thing habitat loss and

play36:13

deforestation of course changes

play36:16

environments for other animals and so on

play36:18

and so pollinator loss is a huge problem

play36:21

globally and and losing animals and

play36:24

creatures you know we tend to think we

play36:26

must save the Rhino we must save the

play36:27

tiger we must save animals that we

play36:30

beautify but you know it's the little

play36:31

ones that we don't really like you know

play36:33

Katherine Rond was talking about spiders

play36:35

today you know it's quite right spiders

play36:36

bugs you know the little things the

play36:38

little flies that that fertilize our our

play36:41

crops and our food if those disappear

play36:44

then you know you're in real we're in

play36:46

real trouble so so trying to be holistic

play36:48

and trying to not just think about

play36:50

climate but the natural world as a whole

play36:52

and you know to try to give a little bit

play36:53

of Hope as well so I did the audio book

play36:55

of this one my my Publishers asked me

play36:57

who I'd like to do who i' like to do the

play36:59

audio recording and I said what do you

play37:01

mean I said well give us a couple of

play37:02

names so I went but everybody must say

play37:03

George Clooney and okay do it yourself

play37:06

so I recorded it and as I come towards

play37:08

the end of my book and I say you know uh

play37:10

the Earth survey done in the UK by the

play37:12

British government by descripta says

play37:15

that globally we're using 1.6 times the

play37:17

the Earth Resources every year you know

play37:20

we're crazy as a species to accelerate

play37:22

our own demise and that my producer

play37:25

knocked on the window and I was reading

play37:27

through the last few pages and he said

play37:29

look I'm really sorry I find this quite

play37:31

difficult to see what reality looks like

play37:33

you know when you start layering on what

play37:35

the problems are not just well 1.5 and

play37:38

so on but you know the the you know

play37:40

contraception is ineffective if it's

play37:42

stored above 30° right all these things

play37:46

that are coming towards us maternal

play37:47

healthc care the difficulties cognitive

play37:49

Etc and and I said don't worry don't

play37:52

worry it's going to be better and then I

play37:53

put on some pages where we can be

play37:55

optimistic and

play37:57

the good news about about um knowledge

play38:00

Keepers and universities is that we are

play38:01

producing huge amounts of R&D huge

play38:03

amounts of innovation lots of amazingly

play38:05

exciting ideas you the Scott polar

play38:07

Institute in Cambridge about you know

play38:10

crazy ideas about how to mitigate and

play38:12

maybe even reverse climate change most

play38:14

scientists in the climate space are now

play38:15

thinking not how do we slow it down

play38:17

we've gone so far we're past 1.5 how do

play38:20

we actually reverse and you know

play38:22

geoengineering is a is a tricky one um

play38:25

but you know there are lots of reasons

play38:26

to be positive and and optimistic but

play38:29

you know I think that the Cascade effect

play38:31

of trying to look at everything in front

play38:33

of us and not just at warming world is

play38:35

pretty sobering and you know it's a job

play38:37

of someone like me as an educator to

play38:39

just explain where we are it's the job

play38:41

of the people we elect to that work out

play38:42

what we should do and to you know and

play38:44

for investors to think about what kind

play38:46

of solutions they want and for voters

play38:48

decide in countries like ours where

play38:49

we're lucky enough to choose our own

play38:50

leaders who do we want to be preparing

play38:53

for I suppose some opportunities in the

play38:55

future but also the real challenges I

play38:57

mean there are 500 roughly emerging

play38:59

infectious diseases they're all highly

play39:01

susceptible to climatic change we'll

play39:03

have a world by 2080 where 90% is

play39:06

susceptible to malaria and Deni fever as

play39:08

it happens my university has produced a

play39:10

malaria vaccine that's now being rolled

play39:12

out into Cameroon if that works if we

play39:14

can stay ahead of genetic mutations then

play39:17

there's lots of reasons to be hopeful

play39:18

but you know we should be planning ahead

play39:20

like Benjamin Franklin

play39:22

said let's have some questions now um

play39:26

let let me look uh that lady in white

play39:29

there in the middle in the middle

play39:30

standing

play39:36

yeah am I audible yeah yeah uh thank you

play39:39

for the talk sir sir my question

play39:41

pertains to the methodology of global

play39:44

history itself how can one practice this

play39:46

kind of History given uh like we have so

play39:49

many sources how does one filter out the

play39:52

sources and how does one identify

play39:54

connections on such a vast scale

play39:56

thank you are you a

play39:59

historian I am doing my masters in

play40:02

history currently yes good for you well

play40:04

done good luck uh look it's really hard

play40:07

and and there are lots of ways lots of

play40:09

answers one could give one is high

play40:11

levels of collaboration you know no no

play40:13

no historian works on their own I mean

play40:16

not just because we talk to each other

play40:17

but because we're reading each other's

play40:19

work all the time so it's a hugely

play40:20

collaborative process so please don't

play40:22

email me about to ask where the

play40:23

footnotes are in the book they're all

play40:24

online I think I've got 4,700 footnotes

play40:27

to show that there are all these

play40:29

wonderful Scholars who are working

play40:31

together uh there are lots of projects

play40:33

uh where we collaborate I'm running a a

play40:36

a a levium project in usbekistan on

play40:38

river systems to look at how Rivers have

play40:40

changed over time and my collaborators

play40:42

I'm working with some are archaeologists

play40:44

some are river Specialists uh some are

play40:46

people who are Osteo you interested in

play40:48

in um in bone archaeology some are Arch

play40:51

obotan ists skills that I wouldn't be

play40:52

able to acquire so lot is how do we

play40:55

collaborate uh with global histories you

play40:57

know like all history it's expensive to

play40:59

train young historians because you have

play41:01

to pay fees but you got to learn

play41:03

languages and you got to learn

play41:04

methodologies but it is possible to do

play41:07

but the more we talk to each other the

play41:08

more we learn from each other the easier

play41:09

it

play41:11

becomes good luck with good luck with

play41:13

your studies yeah any more questions uh

play41:15

we can yes please yeah yes

play41:18

please just

play41:23

shout oh

play41:25

great

play41:27

uh really enjoyed reading your book very

play41:29

voluminous but your last two

play41:31

chapters uh would you like to expand on

play41:34

it in the future with military emissions

play41:36

something on that especially since since

play41:38

1991 we are very much in a unipolar

play41:41

world where Warfare seems to have become

play41:44

a normal feature of

play41:46

Life uh yeah okay I'll try and do a

play41:49

short a short answer yeah you know the

play41:52

US Department of Defense is the biggest

play41:53

institutional user of fossil fuels in

play41:55

the world would rank if it was an if it

play41:57

was an independent state flying planes

play41:59

blowing up tanks building missiles it's

play42:01

hugely energy intensive for Metals for

play42:04

everything rare Earths and so on um a

play42:07

report that came out at the end of last

play42:09

year by the Department of Defense

play42:10

estimates the impact of climate change

play42:12

to US military installations that puts

play42:14

the budget to fix these at $380 billion

play42:18

just for us defense facilities they're

play42:19

about 560,000 US facil military

play42:22

facilities around the world which is a

play42:24

lot India doesn't have quite so many but

play42:26

any state that is involved in missile

play42:28

exploration space exploration like India

play42:30

is with its f blander with its programs

play42:32

of the Moon investing in the military is

play42:35

extremely expensive um and it's highly

play42:37

energy consumptive uh would you if I was

play42:40

to bet will we spend more in our

play42:42

different countries on defense in 10

play42:44

years time than we do today yes I will

play42:47

we spend a lot more on defense than we

play42:48

do today I would also answer yes uh but

play42:52

you know historians are very

play42:54

pessimistic uh I've got a much more

play42:55

optim istic wife that I tells me to keep

play42:57

happy and smiling and not scare people

play42:59

because why read a book if we're all

play43:00

going to die I think if you're going to

play43:02

die then you might as well read a good

play43:03

book so you might as well read mine uh

play43:05

but no I think I think defending on

play43:06

defense it is changing I mean

play43:09

nowadays you we're about you know it

play43:11

takes time to catch up but submarines

play43:13

aircraft carriers big programs are

play43:15

probably in an era now where small

play43:17

Technologies make a big difference the

play43:19

world that we should be protecting

play43:20

against are things like cyber attacks

play43:22

where one person with a laptop whether

play43:24

they're in state employee or not can

play43:25

bring down

play43:26

energy grids water systems and those

play43:29

things are difficult to protect against

play43:31

so yeah the militarization of our world

play43:33

is is a real problem for energy for

play43:35

climate for material consumption and for

play43:37

hierarchies people invest in these

play43:39

things can make big returns and a more

play43:41

fractured worlds means bigger

play43:42

opportunities for those who are willing

play43:43

to do

play43:44

so any any young people have questions

play43:47

here uh with the red scarf there yeah

play43:50

yeah first gentleman of the Red

play43:53

Scarf there's a there's a child here

play43:56

with a question yes please yeah uh you

play43:58

first ma'am you first yeah hello if if

play44:01

there's a small child with a question

play44:03

here yeah

play44:04

on we'll come back uh hello sir hello

play44:08

sir thank you for coming to my talk

play44:11

you're the future you're the Next

play44:12

Generation that will save the mistakes

play44:14

My Generation made okay so so my

play44:17

question is that actually I am also like

play44:20

taking Inspirations from almost like

play44:23

many writers and I want want to ask that

play44:26

sir when you started your journey

play44:28

getting into the getting submerged into

play44:31

the writings and all so sir what was

play44:34

your first thought that no I'll write

play44:36

this how did you conclude that what

play44:38

topic to pick it was like it is very

play44:41

difficult for me to pick a particular

play44:43

topic that which one should I start

play44:50

with I mean I'm going to say that you

play44:53

youan done a great job moderating but

play44:54

when I come back to jao next time will

play44:56

you come and be in discussion with me on

play44:58

the

play45:03

stage well I I'm going to give I'm going

play45:05

to give you an answer that's going to be

play45:06

very unhelpful but will you come and

play45:07

find me afterwards I'll give you a copy

play45:09

of my silk words illustrated book for

play45:10

younger readers right so come and find

play45:12

me and I will give that to you as a as a

play45:14

present but um

play45:17

the the least she you should all give

play45:19

this young lady but anyway um no my the

play45:23

answer is I is is the answer you don't

play45:25

want me to give which is don't pick read

play45:27

everything you know if you're in a

play45:29

buffet try everything until you find the

play45:32

one thing you think tastes and looks

play45:34

better than anything else and we are all

play45:36

made different the things I chose no one

play45:39

was interested in you know no one

play45:40

thought that um anyone would read my

play45:42

books even my last publisher didn't

play45:44

didn't refuse to publish a book called

play45:46

The Silk rose that I wrote so I had to

play45:47

move publisher to my current home

play45:49

Bloomsbury thank you very much bloombury

play45:51

but you need to find something that is

play45:53

passionate for you that speaks to you

play45:55

speaks to your heart and your soul and

play45:56

the thing that you want to then explain

play45:58

to other people and historians are

play46:00

people who tell other people's stories

play46:02

and if you can do that as well as you've

play46:03

done this morning that would be great

play46:05

but find the thing that you want rather

play46:07

than listen to some old old spanker like

play46:13

me that gentleman with the red scarf

play46:18

there hello uh yeah uh so I just wanted

play46:22

to uh know your opinion on the younger D

play46:25

impact Theory

play46:26

10,000 years ago I think there's a view

play46:28

coming that prehistory didn't start from

play46:30

civilizations but there was civilization

play46:33

before 10,000 BC and there was a

play46:35

cataclysmic event which wiped out uh you

play46:37

know a ancient form of civilization do

play46:40

you have any opinions on that uh I don't

play46:41

know if you've heard people like Graham

play46:43

Hancock and Randall castle and people

play46:46

like that uh yeah I mean okay well the

play46:49

younger so the younger about 10 12,000

play46:52

years ago it's a sort of it's a it's a

play46:53

climatic boundary and and um climatic

play46:57

boundaries a bit like temples for

play46:58

archaeologists everybody loves round

play47:00

numbers right 10,000 12,000 years ago uh

play47:04

these ideas that there's a sort of spark

play47:06

moment where humans develop agriculture