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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

Perspectives on Public Policy in Societal-Environmental Crises

What the Future Needs from History

  • The only collective multidisciplinary survey of historical responses to risk, mitigation and resilience

  • International group of specialists in several fields working collaboratively

  • Directly responds to current concerns about relevance of historical lessons for contemporary policy

  • This book is open access which means you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Risk, Systems and Decisions (RSD)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (23 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction: What Sort of Past Does Our Future Need?

    • Adam Izdebski, John Haldon, Piotr Filipkowski
    Pages 1-5Open Access
  3. History and Public Policy in the Era of Planetary Crisis

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 7-7
    2. History and Utopian Thinking in the Era of the Anthropocene

      • Dariusz Brzeziński
      Pages 33-43Open Access
    3. Globalization as Adaptive Complexity: Learning from Failure

      • Miguel Centeno, Peter Callahan, Paul Larcey, Thayer Patterson
      Pages 59-74Open Access
    4. Disjunctures of Practice and the Problems of Collapse

      • Rowan Jackson, Steven Hartman, Benjamin Trump, Carole Crumley, Thomas McGovern, Igor Linkov et al.
      Pages 75-108Open Access
  4. Crisis and Recovery

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 205-205
    2. Systemic Risk and Resilience: The Bronze Age Collapse and Recovery

      • Luke Kemp, Eric H. Cline
      Pages 207-223Open Access
    3. Panarchy and the Adaptive Cycle: A Case Study from Mycenaean Greece

      • James M. L. Newhard, Eric H. Cline
      Pages 225-235Open Access

About this book

This is an open access book.

Histories we tell never emerge in a vacuum, and history as an academic discipline that studies the past is highly sensitive to the concerns of the present and the heated debates that can divide entire societies. But does the study of the past also have something to teach us about the future? Can history help us in coping with the planetary crisis we are now facing? 

By analyzing historical societies as complex adaptive systems, we contribute to contemporary thinking about societal-environmental interactions in policy and planning and consider how environmental and climatic changes, whether sudden high impact events or more subtle gradual changes, impacted human responses in the past. We ask how societal perceptions of such changes affect behavioral patterns and explanatory rationalities in premodernity, and whether a better historical understanding of these relationships can inform our response to contemporary problems of similar nature and magnitude, such as adapting to climate change.


  • History
  • Climate Change
  • sustainable development
  • Social History
  • Ecological change
  • Open Access

Editors and Affiliations

  • MPI for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany

    Adam Izdebski

  • Princeton University, Princeton, USA

    John Haldon

  • Polish Academy of Sciences, Berlin, Germany

    Piotr Filipkowski

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Perspectives on Public Policy in Societal-Environmental Crises

  • Book Subtitle: What the Future Needs from History

  • Editors: Adam Izdebski, John Haldon, Piotr Filipkowski

  • Series Title: Risk, Systems and Decisions

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-94136-9

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-94139-0

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-94137-6

  • Series ISSN: 2626-6717

  • Series E-ISSN: 2626-6725

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: IX, 347

  • Number of Illustrations: 12 b/w illustrations, 34 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ecology, History, Climate Change Ecology

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)