The Letter from Dublin: Climate Change, Colonialism, and the Royal Society in the Seventeenth Century
This article discusses an anonymous letter published in the Philosophical Transactions in 1676 that reports the theories of American colonists about the cause of their warming climate (cultivation and deforestation), and offers Ireland’s colonial experience as a counterexample: Ireland was a colony with decreased cultivation, but the same perceived warming. That such an objection seemed necessary to the author shows that anthropogenic climate change could be a subject of debate and that the concept of climate was tied into theories of land use and to the colonial enterprise. Since he was liminal to both the Royal Society of London and the intellectual circles of Dublin, his skepticism, contextualized here, questions both the elite discourse and the discourse at the colonial periphery.
Osiris 26 (2011): 111–28
Vogel, Brant, “The Letter from Dublin: Climate Change, Colonialism, and the Royal Society in the Seventeenth Century,” Legacies of the Enlightenment, accessed October 1, 2023, http://enlightenmentlegacies.org/items/show/105.