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Examine ancient human impacts and future sustainability.Homo sapiens
essentially are a volatile mix of apex predators, technological savants, and curious, highly adaptable migrants that have led to the general consensus that we are now living in a new geological epoch called the "Anthropocene", a time marked by human domination of Earth's biosystems. Archaeological research around the world demonstrates that islands can serve as ideal model systems for examining how human populations, through various cultural processes, have modified, disrupted, or permanently altered these pristine ecologies. In some cases, however, sustainable practices are also visible. In this talk, I discuss these issues using islands in the Caribbean and Pacific as a backdrop, and also show how islands serve as microcosms for current predicaments on Earth.
Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. He is an archaeologist who specializes in the prehistory and historical ecology of island and coastal regions, particularly the Pacific and Caribbean. Much of his research has focused on prehistoric colonization events, seafaring strategies, adaptations to smaller islands, exchange systems, and human impacts on ancient environments. Dr. Fitzpatrick is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology and has published several books and more than 130 journal articles and book chapters.