“Climate Change Invaded My Field”Historians in the News
At the American Historical Association’s annual meeting earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Leibo, a professor of history, leader for the Climate Reality Project, and long-time UCS supporter. During the Q&A for a session on teaching history to STEM students, Professor Leibo remarked on the need for building better bridges between historians and scientists. After the talk, he graciously allowed me to interview him about why these bridges are important through the lens of his own work. Below is our conversation, edited for brevity.
DB: How did your work as a historian of international relations and foreign policy lead to your interest in climate change and your community-based work as an advocate for science-informed policy?
SL: I grew up in Silicon Valley. I went to high school with Steve Wozniak [Apple], and I was always aware of Al Gore being involved legislatively in helping to realize the Internet. When he came out with the book Earth in the Balance, it was my reading of his environmental perspective that initially got me involved in the topic.
I never chose to be an environmentalist. I don’t think of myself that way. My field is modern international history and politics, and quite frankly, climate change invaded my field. Climate change is the single most important issue that faces humanity in the 21st century, and it was the environment invading international issues that really brought me into this, years after I had read Earth in the Balance....
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