The Dust of Civilization

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

In an earlier post, I emphasized the strong link between the origins of agriculture and the positions of loess (loosely “dust”) regions—arguing in essence that, from dust arises life. If loess bestows habitation and habitability, then loess paved the way for Continue reading

Toward a More-Than-Human Anthropocene

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

By exploring habitability in the Anthropocene, we imply that a human-dominated world can still be a world that supports thriving human populations.  This orientation holds a certain appeal, but it is, I contend, in need of serious interrogation.  Continue reading

Habitability as a commons: Fearing a tragedy of human(ized) nature

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

Some of the recent posts have made me think of the famous book written by Elinor Ostrom, “Governing the Commons.” Ostrom looks at the problem of Continue reading

Habitability’s non-inevitability

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

A theme that has emerged throughout this blog is that there appears to be a fundamental core to habitability: humans transform the world around them, while being structured by the world. Any account, then, necessitates 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

Advancing equity and going beyond basic survival

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

In my earlier post I raised the question of how equity issues fit with the concept of habitability in the Anthropocene. This topic perhaps leads us into the muck of the impacts humans cause when Continue reading

Toward an ethics of niche construction

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

Human beings are niche constructors par excellence—posts by Kiza and Ingo have presented this fact of nature. But what are the moral implications of that fact, if any? Continue reading

“What is ecological engineering?”

CITATION:
Mitsch, W.J. 2012. Ecological Engineering, Vol. 45, pp. 5-12.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Ecological engineering, defined as the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both, has developed over the last 30 years, and rapidly over the last 10 years. Its goals include Continue reading

“The onset of the Anthropocene”

CITATION:
Bruce D. Smith and Melinda A. Zeder. 2013. Anthropocene, Vol. 4, pp. 8-13.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
A number of different starting dates for the Anthropocene epoch have been proposed, reflecting different Continue reading

“Why ‘Nature’ Has No Place in Environmental Philosophy”

CITATION:
 Steven Vogel. 2011. In The Ideal of Nature: Debates About Biotechnology and the Environment, ed. Gregory E. Kaebnick, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Vogel holds it is essential to develop a “postnaturalist” environmental philosophy—an environmental philosophy after Continue reading

“Niche Construction”

CITATION:
F. John Odling-Smee, Kevin N. Laland, Marcus W. Feldman. 1996. The American Naturalist, Vol. 147, No. 4, pp. 641-648.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
Laland Lab Niche Construction site publications page: http://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/niche/files/2015/08/Publication20.pdf
ABSTRACT:
Organisms, through their metabolism, their activities, and their choices, define, partly create, and partly destroy Continue reading

Why “habitability?”

Environmentalism has plenty of buzzwords already–sustainability and resiliency come right to mind. Does it make sense to propose another? In a sense that is what we are doing by making habitability the focus of this blog. In this initial post I’d like to try to suggest why that theme is worth exploring—with the acknowledgment from the outset that its content is not well developed.

In a very obvious way discussions of the Anthropocene immediately raise the question of the future habitability of the planet. The Anthropocene idea was linked early to Continue reading