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Achieving a sustainable relationship with the natural world, from understanding and moderating human impact on climate, to promoting the responsible use of finite and renewable natural resources, is now recognised as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Failure to meet this challenge will have very real consequences for the quality of life of future generations. Several initiatives hosted by, or affiliated with, the Trinity Long Room Hub relate to the broad concerns of sustainability, and have an important role to play in informing our attempts at achieving a sustainable relationship with the natural world.

The Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN)

The work of environmental historians, historical geographers, environmental archaeologists, palaeoecologists and scholars from numerous disciplines has shown that humanity's relationship with its environment has always been a fraught one. Conceptions of past or primitive societies living in harmony with the natural world, or affecting only negligible changes, seldom bear close scrutiny. Attempts at achieving a sustainable relationship with the environment in the present have therefore much to learn from the past. The Irish Environmental History Network was established in 2009 and is hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub. It brings together scholars and scientists with expertise and interests in how humans have perceived, understood and interacted with the Irish and global environment in the past, employing a broad array of methodologies, scientific, archaeological, historical and literary. Members come from research and educational institutions within Ireland and abroad, and the primary role of the Network lies in providing a point of contact between these researchers, as well as a forum where their work can be communicated to policy makers and the public.

Follow the link to visit the Irish Environmental History Network website.

The History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) project

Tamil Divers fishing for pearls off the coast of Ceylon, c.1925-1929.

The History of Marine Animal Populations project is an international, interdisciplinary research programme, the goal of which is to elucidate long-term change in the diversity, distribution and abundance of ocean life. The ultimate intention of the project is to allow the comprehensive understanding of interactions between humanity and marine environments through time, and inform us about the current health of these environments, providing insights required to assess and ensure the future sustainability of marine animal populations.


Follow the link to view the HMAP website.

Prof. Poul Holm, Academic Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, has been Chair of the HMAP project from its inception. The video available to view below is a short presentation by Prof. Holm, given at the Trinity College Science Gallery, Ignite sessions, April 23, 2010, and functions as a concise introduction to some of the main implications of the results of the HMAP project.

Poul Holm speaks at Ignite

18-20 November, 2010, "Oceans Past III - Stories from the Sea - History of Marine Animal Populations and their Exploitation"

HMAP picture

The first decade of the international, multi-disciplinary HMAP project culminates in 2010. At this juncture, it is appropriate to reflect on the project's major achievements, to look ahead and consider the future of marine environmental history and historical ecology, and to consider how the knowledge assembled to date can be applied to marine resource management and conservation. To this end, the Trinity Long Room Hub will host an international conference, "Oceans Past III - Stories from the Sea - History of Marine Animal Populations and their Exploitation", from 18-20 November, 2010.