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
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
R. DeFries. 2014. New York: Basic Books.
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
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
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
THIS POST CONCLUDES OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))
On Thursday, Apr. 14 we concluded the Anthropocene Biosphere Project with a visit to OU by Erle Ellis, whose paper “Ecology in an Anthropogenic Biosphere” we have been discussing here since the end of January. Ellis met with Continue reading
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
K. Sterelny. 2011. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, vol. 366, pp. 809–822.
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
Steven Pinker. 2010. PNAS, vol. 107, suppl. 2, pp. 8993–8999.
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
I’m excited to announce a special project on the blog—a semester-long discussion of Erle Ellis’ 2015 paper ‘Ecology in an Anthropogenic Biosphere’ (Ecological Monographs, 85: 287–331. doi:10.1890/14-2274.1 ). In this paper Ellis proposes Continue reading
D. E. McNamara et al. 2015. The Leading Edge, June 2015, pp. 628-639.
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
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
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
Colin P. Kelly et al. 2015. PNAS, Vol. 112, No. 11, pp. 3241-326.
Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to Continue reading
Last week I submitted version 2.0 of Habitation in the Anthropocene: An Interdisciplinary Interaction contribution to the Social Media in the Anthropocene project. Please click the screenshot of the homepage to visit. Continue reading
I’m on a bit of a quest to find passages in writers from the past who seem to anticipate the Anthropocene idea. And in following up on my sense that Smith is aware of the phenomenon of niche construction I came upon the following, Continue reading