Sustainability and Social Justice

Document Type



This special issue of GeoHealth, entitled Rhythms of the Earth: Ecological Calendars and Anticipating the Anthropogenic Climate Crisis, is a transdisciplinary articulation of a methodology of hope to confront the multiple injustices of the Anthropocene. One of the greatest challenges of the climate crisis is the lack of predictability at the scale of communities where impacts are most immediate. Indigenous and rural societies face an ever shifting “new normal” through increasing inconsistency in the seasonality of temperature and precipitation, as well as greater frequency of extreme weather events. With global food systems dependent on local and small producers, climatic variability disrupts access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. Ecological calendars are context-specific knowledge systems grounded in a particular cultural milieu and ecological space, that build anticipatory capacity for seasonal change. They measure and give meaning to time. Based on close observation of one's habitat, human societies have used such calendars for hundreds of years and potentially millennia. By engaging with the interactions among physical phenomena (such as the first snowfall or last frost) and biological events (such as blossoming of specific trees, arrival of migratory birds or mammals, appearance of plants or insects), human societies have been able to identify optimal time windows for their livelihood activities. The 11 research articles in Rhythms of the Earth cover a considerable geographical breadth from Africa to the Arctic; and, from North and South America to Central Asia. They provide evidence that spans millennia from the Roman Empire to the contemporary Anthropocene. © 2023. The Authors. GeoHealth published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.

Publication Title


Publication Date











climate crisis, ecological calendars, Indigenous communities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.