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    Extreme weather, climate variability and childhood: A historical analogue from the Orkney Islands (1903-1919)

    Foley, Aideen (2022) Extreme weather, climate variability and childhood: A historical analogue from the Orkney Islands (1903-1919). Island Studies Journal 17 (1), pp. 177-201. ISSN 1715-2593.

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    Many small island communities are said to possess high levels of autonomous coping capacity, often linked to peripherality. This social resilience is dynamic rather than static, with environmental, social, and political drivers shaping local pattens of vulnerability, necessitating reflection on how choices in one area may potentially lead to new vulnerabilities or transfers of vulnerability to already sensitive groups, such as children. This article argues that a historical perspective can help shed light on these dynamics. Impacts of extreme weather and climate variability, and resultant impacts of community coping strategies, on children in early-20th-century Orkney are explored using school logbooks. It finds that extreme weather ‘shocks’ directly impact children’s ability to attend school, while adjustments to the school calendar for agricultural operations constitute an indirect impact of climate variability, with reduced recreation time an emergent effect. Contextualised amidst contemporary island scholarship, two key messages emerge. Firstly, that the mobility and/or work of children in island communities remain sensitive to climate stressors in the present day and, secondly, that the island context itself matters, as characteristics commonly associated with ‘islandness’ — such as smallness, remoteness, and high social capital — may intersect in ways that fundamentally impact children’s experiences of weather, work, and education.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): historical climatology, extreme weather, climate variability, resilience, childhood, Orkney
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Aideen Foley
    Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 12:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:14


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