The University of Iowa

Feb. 10 lecture to explore climate destabilization then and now

February 2nd, 2012
The Seven Sorrows of Yunnan

“The Seven Sorrows of Yunnan: Chinese Famine Poetry and the Global Climate Dystopia, 1815-18″

Presented by: Gillen D’Arcy Wood, Director of Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities, Nicholson Professor of English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Date: Friday, Feb. 10
Time: 3-4:30 p.m.
Location: Gerber Lounge – 304 EPB

Abstract: As we approach the 200th anniversary of the massive eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora, Gillen Wood’s Tambora Project reconstructs on a global scale the most destructive episode of abrupt climate change in the modern historical record. The volcanic sulfate veil produced by Tambora in the period 1815-18 altered global weather patterns, initiating the first global cholera pandemic, while famine, refugeeism and civil unrest threatened hard-hit nations from China to Western Europe to New England. The Tambora period thus offers a powerful historical illustration of the causal web linking climate change and the fate of human societies, reinforcing for us, in the twenty-first century, how climate destabilization can and is shaping world events.

Prof. Wood will also participate in the WorldCanvass program “The History of Sustainability” from 5-7 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

For more information, contact Joan Kjaer at or 319-335-2026

The second-annual Net Impact Sustainability Summit “Sustainability, It Just Makes Business Sense” will also take place Feb. 10. Learn more.