Geotop Podcast: Peter Douglas: Climate lessons from past civilizations

Published: 21 December 2023

Featuring Dr. Peter Douglas 


Climate Lessons from Past Civilizations

The Maya Lowlands are a fascinating laboratory for a wide variety of disciplines. Historical and anthropological studies try to make sense of this past culture, their political and social organization and the reason(s) of its "collapse". 

What if geoscience can also shed some light on the history of the Mayas and on their relation to their climate and natural environment. What are the lessons, if any, that we can learn from the Mayas and other civilizations that came before us? How do the historical and environmental structures inherent to human civilizations have shaped the Mayas and continue to shape us today? 

To answer some of those questions, we speak to Peter Douglas, professor at the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at McGill University, specialist of the paleoclimate of the Maya Lowlands. 

We also speak about his more recent research now focused on modern day processes, such as the carbon cycle, greenhouse gas emission around Montreal, emission processes from permafrost and much more. 

This podcast is an initiative of Olivier Jolicoeur, a master's student at Geotop-UQAM. Listen to his interview on BuzzsproutApple and Spotify,  and visit Geotop's YouTube channel, to view short videos related to the podcast.

If you are interested to participate in the project, you can write to stratigraphies [at]

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