“Ethics in the Anthropocene: A research agenda”

CITATION:
Jeremy J. Schmidt, Peter G. Brown and Christopher J. Orr. 2016. The Anthropocene Review, Vol. 3(3) pp. 188–200.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
The quantitative evidence of human impacts on the Earth System has produced new calls for planetary stewardship. At the same time, numerous scholars reject modern social sciences by claiming that Continue reading

New Year’s Greetings for 2017

 

baby-2017

 

In this season of the solstice, the natural world reminds us that at the darkest moment light can return. But our own nature is such that brighter days in the human sense are not inevitable–they must be strived for and accomplished.  Here’s to the joy of imagining, and working toward, a truly habitable future.

Article published on Anthropocene Biosphere Project

I’m delighted to announce that Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE) is publishing “The Anthropocene Biosphere: Supporting ‘Open Interdisciplinarity’ through Blogging,” an article about the Anthropocene Biosphere Project that appeared on the blog earlier this year. Continue reading

CRISPR as Niche Construction: an Aristotelian View

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is part of a system, noticed in certain bacteria, by which a cell can make changes in strands of DNA. This mechanism appears to be a proto-immune system: it enables a bacterium to recognize Continue reading

Interdisciplinarity as conversation

This blog is premised on the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene—indeed, to the general question of human beings’ relationship with their environment. And it aspires to embody a certain conception of interdisciplinarity—one which uses conversation as a model for the interaction among people from diverse intellectual backgrounds. Continue reading

“The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis: A Biography of an Ingenious Species”

CITATION:
R. DeFries. 2014. New York: Basic Books.
BOOK WEBSITE:
ABSTRACT:

The human species has long lived on the edge of starvation. Now we produce enough food so that all 7 billion of us could eat nearly 3,000 calories every day. This is such an astonishing transformation as to Continue reading

Seeing the Anthropocene in something good

Lake Whitney Water Purification Facility, Hamden, CT. Google Earth. Imagery date 9/19/2013. URL: http://goo.gl/maps/ZfQWL

Lake Whitney Water Purification Facility, Hamden, CT. Google Earth. Imagery date 9/19/2013. URL: http://goo.gl/maps/ZfQWL

Recently someone asked me to point to something good in the Anthropocene. That can be a hard one. The Anthropocene narrative, to the extent that there is a single story there, is typically Continue reading

The Ecological Circumstances of the Circumstances of Politics

This is the first in a series of posts on Environmental Political Theory.


With his famous phrase “the circumstances of politics” the philosopher Jeremy Waldron offers an abstract characterization of what politics are at the most basic level. Waldron holds that Continue reading

Video of Ellis Talk and Panel Discussion

THIS POST CONCLUDES OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

Continue reading

The Human Climate

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

To understand this massive and sustained human transformation of Earth’s ecology, it is necessary to consider human societies as a global force capable of interacting with and reshaping ecology across the Earth in ways analogous to Continue reading

“From hominins to humans: how sapiens became behaviourally modern”

CITATION:
K. Sterelny. 2011. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, vol. 366, pp. 809–822.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This paper contributes to a debate in the palaeoarchaeological community about the major time-lag between the origin of anatomically modern humans and the appearance of Continue reading

“The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language”

CITATION:
Steven Pinker. 2010. PNAS, vol. 107, suppl. 2, pp. 8993–8999.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Although Darwin insisted that human intelligence could be fully explained by the theory of evolution, the codiscoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, claimed that abstract intelligence was of no use to ancestral humans and could only be explained by Continue reading

“Efforts to monitor and characterize the recent increasing seismicity in central Oklahoma”

CITATION:
D. E. McNamara et al. 2015. The Leading Edge, June 2015, pp. 628-639.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
The sharp increase in seismicity over a broad region of central Oklahoma has raised concerns regarding the source of the activity and its potential hazard to local communities and energy-industry infrastructure. Efforts to Continue reading

Environmental Under-determinism, Part 2

In my post last week I voiced the concern that rejecting the dualist separation between nature and society might lead to an implausible environmental determinism. To put it reductively, if nature and society are not two separate things, but only one thing with two separate names, it seems as if Continue reading

Environmental Under-determinism, Part 1

A few weeks ago I mentioned my interest in what I think of as “environmental under-determinism;” in this post I’ll explore the idea a bit further. It is an attempt to frame a broad understanding of the relationship between human societies and their environmental settings. In this post I will suggest a motivation for this understanding: Continue reading