Scientists and policymakers are beginning to understand in ever-increasing detail that environmental problems cannot be understood solely through the biophysical sciences. Environmental issues are fundamentally human issues and must be set in the context of social, political, cultural, and economic knowledge. The need both to understand how human beings in the past responded to climatic and other environmental changes and to synthesize the implications of these historical patterns for present-day sustainability spurred a conference of the world's leading scholars on the topic. The Way the Wind Blows is the rich result of that conference.Articles discuss the dynamics of climate, human perceptions of and responses to the environment, and issues of sustainability and resiliency. These themes are illustrated through discussions of human societies around the world and throughout history.