T.R. Kidder

Dr. TR Kidder, Professor & Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Washington University

TEDx Topic: What the Past Tells Us About the Future of Climate Change

Tristram R. (T.R.) Kidder is an archaeologist, geologist, and environmental scientist in the department of anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis; his research explores how climate change has affected humans through time. Increasingly, though, his work investigates how humans have changed climates and environments and how, in turn, this shapes human history. Focusing on the last ten thousand years, T.R.'s work studies how, and when, humans began to be a force capable of changing nature. By looking at different societies and types of social groups, such as hunter-gatherers in coastal Louisiana, pastoral nomads in Uzbekistan, or dynastic civilizations in the Yellow River region of China, T.R investigates how humans change their world, sometimes subtly and sometimes dramatically. In all cases, though, by re-shaping the physical environment people are transforming themselves, their economies, politics, and social behavior. A passionate believer that archaeology is as much about the present and future as it is about the past, T.R. is committed to using history and environmental studies to understand where we are today, and to consider that information in thinking about where we are going in the future.

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