The Anthropocene Idea: Janus-Faced and Interdisciplinary

We welcome to the blog John Meyer, of Humboldt State University, for the next in our series on Environmental Political Theory.


I’m very pleased to contribute to this collection of posts about the challenge of the Anthropocene for environmental political theory (and vice versa). I want to reflect upon two widely espoused Continue reading

Historicizing the Anthropocene: A Peek at Paris

Historians love questions of dating and chronology, and there are two questions about dating the Anthropocene. First, stratigraphy and other sciences have been searching for physical evidence for when Continue reading

Decolonialism and democracy: on the most painful challenges to anthroponomy

In my last post I argued that anthroponomy should be our regulative ideal in our collective responsibility as humankind for our planetary environment.[1] Now I want to ask what major obstacles stand in its way. The ones that are most familiar in environmental political theory are, Continue reading

“Advances in restoration ecology: rising to the challenges of the coming decades”

CITATION:
Perring, M.P. et al. 2015. Ecosphere, 6(8): art. 131.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Simultaneous environmental changes challenge biodiversity persistence and human wellbeing. The science and practice of restoration ecology, in collaboration with other disciplines, can Continue reading

A moral cartography for the Anthropocene

We welcome Manuel Arias Maldonado, of the University of Malága, as a guest on the blog . . . click for his bio, or go to the “Who we are” tab. This post summarizes an argument in his recent book Environment & Society: Socionatural Relations in the Anthropocene (Springer, 2015).


If the Anthropocene were just a scientific category dealing with natural phenomena, we would not feel so concerned about it. But, as Mike Ellis and Zev Trachtenberg have rightly argued, the Anthropocene is not Continue reading

Surviving the Anthropocene Part 2: Of Omega Points and Oil

My previous post lamented the flawed presentation of climate change at the David Koch-funded Hall of Human Origins and suggested that a spiritual-scientific ideology, traceable in part to Teilhard de Chardin, infuses the Smithsonian’s Human Origins initiative and related events. In this follow-up, I take a closer look at this ideology and its connection to broader currents in contemporary evolutionary thought and the Anthropocene. Continue reading

Surviving the Anthropocene: Big Brains and Big Money at the Smithsonian

We welcome Lisa Sideris, of Indiana University, as a guest on the blog . . . click for her bio, or go to the “Who we are” tab. This is the first installment of a two-part post; please come back again Friday for the conclusion.


In late May this year, two related attractions drew me to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in D.C.  One was an ambitious-sounding 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

The real inconvenient truth?

This will not be a very scientific post, but it is also not a rant. I am trying to understand something: why is there so little large scale planning and discussion about the inevitable and grave consequences of climate change?

There is a surprising amount of Continue reading

The fundamental ethical adaptation: anthroponomy

We welcome to the blog Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, of Case Western Reserve University, for the next in our series on Environmental Political Theory.


I’m one of those people who doesn’t like the term “environmentalism.” I think every human should take care of her home, want to be mindful of other forms of life on Earth, and should 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

Mourning the Dodo: On Significant Otherness in the Anthropocene — Part 2

Polarbrown-2

Pictured here is a “grolar,” one of the many arctic hybrids that are part of the “sexual revolution” going on in the Arctic due to climate change.

In my post last week I wrote about the Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory (MEMO) currently under construction on the Isle of Portland off the southern coast of England.  This conceptually sophisticated project, led by the architectural firm of David Adjaye, offers a thoughtful means of linking local, global, and planetary histories of the extinction crisis while drawing attention to the fight to preserve the earth’s biodiversity.  As I noted last time, I’m deeply sympathetic to the idea of extending private grieving and collective mourning to include non-human earthly companions that have gone extinct or are gravely endangered.  But I’m uneasy about the MEMO project’s aspirations to becoming a world heritage site that rivals St. Paul’s Cathedral and other historical landmarks.  Such a stone monument seems like an odd nineteenth-century relic in a digital, networked world. Continue reading

Mourning the Dodo: On Significant Otherness in the Anthropocene — Part 1

We welcome Tom Lekan, of the University of South Carolina, as a guest on the blog . . . click for his bio, or go to the “Who we are” tab. This is the first installment of a two-part post; please come back again next week for the conclusion. 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