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

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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 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

“Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home”

CITATION:
Pope Francis. 2015. Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home [Encyclical].
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord”, in his Canticle of the Creatures. It reminds us that Continue reading

“Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change”

CITATION:
Dipesh Chakrabarty. 2012. New Literary History, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 1-18.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This article begins by describing how the figure of the human has been thought in anticolonial and postcolonial writing—as that of the Continue reading

“From Biophilia to Cosmophilia: The Role of Biological and Physical Sciences in Promoting Sustainability”

CITATION:
Lucas F. Johnston. 2010. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 7-23.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v4il.7
ABSTRACT:
Ideas from the life sciences and the physical sciences, particularly the ideas that Continue reading

A creation myth for the Anthropocene

Stephen’s post on Lynn White helped me focus on an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while: the need for a new creation myth suited to the Anthropocene.

White’s argument reminds us that creation myths derive their power from their status as fundamental texts within the religious tradition that underlies a society’s moral life; a key strategy for justifying a course of action is Continue reading

“The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis”

CITATION:
Lynn White, Jr. 1967. Science, Vol. 155, No. 3767, pp. 1203-7.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This article claims that the modern ecological crisis arose out of an ethic derived from Continue reading