Comparative Responses to Climate Change
I bring to this discussion both the perspective and the ignorance of one who has spent most of his career not working in West Africa. These papers, and the data underlying them, are of merit not just in Mande studies. They also have value in the comparative study of land use in arid environments. Having spent much of my career working in the southwestern United States, I find West African history and prehistory especially valuable and interesting. West Africa, and in particular the Sahel, displays a pattern of cultural change and response to climate that in some ways parallels the American Southwest and in important ways diverges from it. To increase our understanding of both areas I will use the opportunity of this commentary to discuss the parallels, the divergences and how we infer them.
Tainter, J. A. Comparative Responses to Climate Change. Mande Studies 6: 77-82.