Developing an Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE): Research Plan. IGBP Report No. 59. IGBP Secretariat, Stockholm. 40pp.
Historical narratives are traditionally cast in terms of wars, the rise and fall of civilisations and specific human achievements, leaving out the important ecological and climate contexts that shaped and accompanied such events. It is now widely recognised that current Earth system changes are strongly associated with changes in the coupled human-environment system, making the integration of human history and Earth system history a timely and important task. Until recently, however, there have been few attempts to integrate historical information across fields of study, and separate methods of investigating and describing these histories have emerged due to a lack of interaction between academic communities. Bridging these communities and their findings will be an essential step towards understanding the factors contributing to global change and towards developing coping and adaptation strategies for the future.
The overarching goal of the Integrated History and future Of People on Earth (IHOPE) project is a rich understanding of the interactions between environmental and human processes over the past hundred or so millennia on Earth. Our main objective is to use new and existing data sources to produce an integrated historical account of changes in climate, atmospheric chemistry and composition, ecosystem distribution, material and water cycles, species extinctions, land-use systems, human settlement patterns, technologies, patterns of disease, patterns of language and institutions, conflicts and alliances, and other variables. To achieve this ambitious goal, it will be necessary to create a framework that can be used to integrate perspectives, theories, tools and knowledge from a variety of disciplines spanning the full spectrum of social and natural sciences and the humanities.