It’s time for a temperature check. Released this week, new research from UK scientists reviewed the effects of 16th century exploration on the climate of the time. The Europeans arrival in the “New World” brought significant change felt most profoundly when two populations of people separated by an ocean collided and exchanged germs. The unintended and tragic consequence was the death of almost 55 million indigenous people in North and South America which comprised almost 90% of the population of the two continents and about 10% of the world population at the time. In their report, the scientists correlate those deaths to the reforestation of abandoned farms which caused a massive consumption of carbon from the atmosphere and cooled the globe so significantly it extended the Little Ice Age and sparked popular unrest across Europe. You can read more about it here: (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379118307261).
Much of the discussion on this report centers on whether conclusions can be drawn about how to address climate change today (focusing on reforestation instead of carbon emission). To us, it is a simple example that humanity’s effect on the environment started much earlier than most would have guessed and in ways that would not be expected. Such is the nature of life. Whether it be in physics (Newton’s Third Law – Every action has an equal and opposite reaction) or finance (Soro’s Reflexivity – Investor perceptions affect the environment which in turn changes investor perceptions), an object being acted upon will change in some way. That is happening in the US political machine today as we move towards the 2020 election. Climate policy is going to be a major issue as Democrat’s release a “Green New Deal” this week which will elicit a Republican response followed by debate. In the process, we will make choices that impact our community health, wealth, and security in the world.