“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

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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))

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Moral Meaning & Morally Mending (Nature)

THIS POST IS THE WINNER OF THE PRIZE FOR BEST ESSAY BY A GRADUATE STUDENT ON THE QUESTION, “HOW DID THE ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT AFFECT THE WAY I UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE?” CONGRATULATIONS, ARIELLE!

The Anthropocene Biosphere Project has changed the way that I view the relationship between humans and nature. Generally, there are two prevailing beliefs about the role that human beings play Continue reading

Together, With Nature

THIS POST IS THE WINNER OF THE PRIZE FOR BEST ESSAY BY AN UNDERGRADUATE ON THE QUESTION, “HOW DID THE ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT AFFECT THE WAY I UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE?” CONGRATULATIONS, MARY!

The 2016 Anthropocene Biosphere project brought together intellectuals from various fields to share their intellectual expertise on how humankind is shaping our planet. These experts, through the blog and live presentation, wove together Continue reading

Culture as 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))

For ecologists, the meaning should be very clear. The forces of humanity are now akin to those of climate geophysics or biology and therefore as fundamental to understanding the processes that shape life on Earth as Continue reading

On the narrative of cultural evolution and alternatives for human-environmental entanglements

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))

Over the past few weeks, our group members have exchanged lively discussion and critique of Erle Ellis’s paper, virtually and in person. At those meetings I have attended, our chats have extended at least for some time towards the domain of 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

Hypothesized Hope

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))

In preparation for Erle Ellis’ visit to OU’s campus in April, I’ve spent some time considering topics I hope we can address during his visit. Continue reading

“A Paleolithic Reciprocation Crisis: Symbols, Signals, and Norms”

CITATION:
K. Sterelny. 2014. Biological Theory, vol. 9, pp 65-77.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Within paleoanthropology, the origin of behavioral modernity is a famous problem. Very large-brained hominins have lived for around half a million years, yet social lives resembling those known from the ethnographic record appeared perhaps 100,000 years ago. Why did it take 400,000 years for humans to start acting like humans? Continue reading

How do memes change how we live?

In a previous post I started speculating about memes and their potential role in cultural evolution. I believe that coming to a better understanding of the way memes operate is an important part of coming to a full conception of habitability. As I argued previously, we can’t fully understand Continue reading

Memes as a dimension of the human niche

THIS POST IS PART OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT—SEE THIS DESCRIPTION OF OUR SUBMISSION.
 

Though human beings can be understood biologically, as one species among others, we have one particularly prominent, even defining, feature: Continue reading

“Concluding Remarks” on Animal Ecology and Demography

THIS POST IS PART OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ANTHROPOCENE PROJECT—SEE THIS DESCRIPTION OF OUR SUBMISSION.
CITATION:
Hutchinson, G.E. 1957. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 22 (2): 415–427.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This paper reflects on a symposium that covered a wide range of topics; in it “a rather detailed analysis of one particular problem is given, partly because the question, namely, the nature of the ecological niche and the validity of the principle of niche specificity has raised and continues to raise difficulties, Continue reading