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Want to Survive Climate Change? Start Building Your Social Networks.


Forty thousand years ago, a massive volcanic eruption in southern Italy devastated what today is Europe. And yet, the culture of the early humans who lived there persisted. Now, archeologists say the key was long-distance trade and social networking.

And Julien Riel-Salvatore, an associate professor of anthropology at University of Montreal, says that could be an important message for modern humans facing the challenges of climate change.

"What we see is that previously when Neanderthals were confronted with periods of dramatic climatic change, they appear to have gone extinct or completely abandon the region, modern humans were able to stick it out somehow," Riel-Salvatore said. "And we think that that's probably linked to the fact that modern humans maintained these networks with a group... a few hundred kilometers away."

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Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.