University of Sunderland lecturer looks back over climate history

September 10 2019 @ 13:06 by Richard Dawson

An academic at the University of Sunderland will deliver a lecture this month (September 25) looking at how over the past three decades, climate change has gone from a mostly scientific interest to one of the biggest issues facing humankind and the planet.

The lecture will look back in time at how human societies at different stages of development have grappled with weather patterns.

Dr Debbie Smith will take a closer look at the weather diaries of 19thcentury lawyer James Losh, whose observations of Newcastle between 1802 and 1833 provide an insight into the life and weather of the time.

Dr Smith said: “Feast and famine, well-being and dearth have traditionally been the gift of the weather, in that sense little has changed.

“The James Losh diaries provide an informed, critical and thoughtful insight into the weather of early 19thCentury Newcastle and how it contributed to the everyday life of residents of the town.

“Most certainly the climatic setting in which these connections were acted out is different to that of today: it was, most importantly much colder but his reflections provide a remarkable perspective on the links between weather and well-being.”

James Losh was an English lawyer, reformer and Unitarian in Newcastle upon Tyne.

In politics, he was a significant contact in the North East for the national Whig leadership. William Wordsworth the poet called Losh in a letter of 1821 “my candid and enlightened friend”.

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