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VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity

1. This Human Impact Anthropocene Stage

Morrell, Kevin and Frederik Dahlmann. Aristotle in the Anthropocene: The Comparative Benefits of Virtue Ethics over Utilitarianism and Deontology. Anthropocene Review. December, 2022. Cranfield School of Management, UK and Warwick Business School scholars seek to avail and join original Greek philosophies with third millennium national and planetary crises as we phenomenal peoples still try to viably abide on this precious biospheric home, See also herein Taming Gaia 2.0: Earth System Law in the Ruptured Anthropocene by Kim Rakhyun, et al (9/3, 2022), and Anthropocene Science, a new Springer journal this year.

In ethical philosophy, utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individual In moral philosophy deontology is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules and principles, rather than based on the consequences of the action.

Moser, Keith. Rethinking the Essence of Human and Other-Than-Human Communication in the Anthropocene Epoch: A Biosemiotic Interpretation of Edgar Morin’s “Complex Thought.”. Humanities. 7/2, 2018. We note this intriguing essay by a Mississippi State University professor of language studies as an insightful take on the nonagenarian French systems sage endeavor to articulate an expansive, semiotic sense of a natural literacy far beyond humans alone. An opening section is Communication as a Universal Property of Life whence one may gain an abiding sense of an “Ecosmos” and “eCosmos” as both ecological and loquacious.

The purpose of this essay is to explore the philosophical and linguistic implications of the French philosopher Edgar Morin’s “complex thought.” In stark contrast to standard communicative models which profess that Homo sapiens are the only organisms that are capable of engaging in semiosis, Morin unequivocally proves that other-than-human communication is laden with significance and purpose. Living on an imperiled planet that is increasingly defined by an anthropogenic, ecological calamity and spiraling further out of control with each passing day, Morin persuasively argues that we must transcend our myopic, anthropocentric frame of reference and adopt a more ecocentric view of communication. (Abstract)

Nicholson, Simon and Sikina Jinnah, eds. New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2016. An academic anthology with sections about Causes of the New Earth, Scholarship as Engagement, Pedagogies of Hope, New Earth Institutions, Social Movements, Geopolitics, Climate Change, and Narrative Frames for Living on a New Earth. Some chapters are Person/Planet Politics by Karen Litfin, Scholarship as Citizenship by Richard Falk, and Toward Sharing Our Ecospace by Joyeeta Gupta.

Novacek, Michael. Terra. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007. Reviewed more in the Greatest Earth section, its subtitle is Our 100-Million-Year-Old Ecosystem – And The Threats That Now Put It at Risk.

Oppermann, Serpil and Serenella Iovino, eds. Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. The editors are Hacettepe University, Ankara, and University of Turin literary scholars with several volumes to their credit, search Amazon. Some chapters here are Posthuman Environs by Jeff Cohen, Where is Feminism in the Environmental Humanities by Greta Gaard, The Extraordinary Strata of the Anthropocene by Jan Zalasiewicz, Worldview Remediation in the First Century of the New Millennium by J. Baird Callicott, and How the Earth Speaks Now by Wendy Wheeler. We also note a 2014 collection Material Ecocriticism by the editors, re second quote. See also The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. edited by Ursula, Heise, et al (Routledge, 2017). But the postmodern academic mindset of such well intended works seems to daunt an effective message because it cannot imagine a greater, encompassing creative reality from which any salutary identity, purpose and guidance might be gained.

At a time when the narrative and theoretical threads of the environmental humanities are more entwined than ever with the scientific, ethical, and political challenges of the global ecological crisis, this volume invites us to rethink the Anthropocene, the posthuman, and the environmental from various cross-disciplinary viewpoints. The book enriches the environmental debate with new conceptual tools and revitalizes thematic and methodological collaborations in the trajectory of ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. Alliances between the humanities and the social and natural sciences are vital in addressing and finding viable solutions to our planetary predicaments. (publisher)

Material Ecocriticism offers new ways to analyze language and reality, human and nonhuman life, mind and matter, without falling into well-worn paths of thinking. Bringing ecocriticism closer to the material turn, the contributions to this landmark volume focus on material forces and substances, the agency of things, processes, narratives and stories, and making meaning out of the world. This broad-ranging reflection on contemporary human experience and expression provokes new understandings of the planet to which we are intimately connected.

Purdy, Jedediah. After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015. So as to engage this rampant era of technological human globalization, a Duke University professor of law seeks to identify and scope a suitable democratic abidance. The old representative modes won’t do any more, if they ever did (consider the current 2016 election). A novel turn is deftly cast as “post-humanism” whence human beings need integrate and assimilate individual selves into a supportive natural ecology. In regard, threads of a “new animism, ecocentrism, politics of nature” in as modes of a dynamic autopoietic self-organization are recommended. The author, just 40 years old, is seen as one of the brightest scholars to come along, so maybe these insights will gain the notice and implementation they deserve.

Nature no longer exists apart from humanity. Henceforth, the world we will inhabit is the one we have made. Geologists have called this new planetary epoch the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans. The geological strata we are now creating record industrial emissions, industrial-scale crop pollens, and the disappearance of species driven to extinction. Climate change is planetary engineering without design. These facts of the Anthropocene are scientific, but its shape and meaning are questions for politics―a politics that does not yet exist. After Nature develops a politics for this post-natural world. The Anthropocene demands that we draw on all these legacies and go beyond them. With human and environmental fates now inseparable, environmental politics will become either more deeply democratic or more unequal and inhumane. Where nothing is pure, we must create ways to rally devotion to a damaged and ever-changing world.

Rhodes, Lynn. Verge of Collapse? Survival of Civilization in the Anthropocene. Comparative Civilizations Review. 72/Spring, 2015. The environmentalist author was formally director of the California State Parks. Herein he graphically lays out a path to an alternative Ecological Civilization which draws on Andrew Targowski’s model (search) as a measured response to Jared Diamond’s clarion 2011 work Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

Rockstrom, Johan, et al. Climate Change: The necessary, the possible and the desirable Earth League climate statement on the implications for climate policy from the 5th IPCC Assessment. Earth’s Future. 2/12, 2014. In this new online journal hosted by the American Geophysical Union, thirty leading environmental scientists such as Hans Schellnhuber, April Humble, Sander van der Leeuw, and Nicholas Stern, issue this manifesto. As the abstracts details, while biospheric weather has been relatively stable for some past millennia, it is now in a stressed state due to human Anthropocene civilizational impacts. This reality, which must be acknowledged and faced, then requires “a necessary and possible Global Transformation” to a beneficial sustainable homeostasis if we are to survive and flourish.

The development of human civilisations has occurred at a time of stable climate. This climate stability is now threatened by human activity. The rising global climate risk occurs at a decisive moment for world development. World nations are currently discussing a global development agenda consequent to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which ends in 2015. It is increasingly possible to envisage a world where absolute poverty is largely eradicated within one generation and where ambitious goals on universal access and equal opportunities for dignified lives are adopted. These grand aspirations for a world population approaching or even exceeding nine billion in 2050 is threatened by substantial global environmental risks and by rising inequality. Research shows that development gains, in both rich and poor nations, can be undermined by social, economic and ecological problems caused by human-induced global environmental change. Climate risks, and associated changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems that regulate the resilience of the climate system, are at the forefront of these global risks. We, as citizens with a strong engagement in Earth system science and socio-ecological dynamics, share the vision of a more equitable and prosperous future for the world, yet we also see threats to this future from shifts in climate and environmental processes. Without collaborative action now, our shared Earth system may not be able to sustainably support a large proportion of humanity in the decades ahead. (Abstract)

Rodriques, Pablo and Catarina Lira. The Bio-Evolutionary Anthropocene Hypothesis. Biological Theory. Online July, 2019. With a subtitle of Rethinking the Role of Human-Induced Novel Organisms in Evolution, Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro bioecologists consider ways that novel organisms will evolve as a result of our invasive human-induced “Anthroposphere” as it impacts and changes every fauna and flora bioregion.

Anthropogenic changes in the biosphere, driven mainly by human cultural habits and technological advances, are altering the direction of evolution on Earth, with ongoing and permanent changes modifying uncountable interactions between organisms, the environment, and humankind itself. While numerous species may go extinct, others will be favored due to strong human influences. The Bio-Evolutionary Anthropocene hypothesizes that directly or indirectly human-driven organisms, including alien species, hybrids, and genetically modified organisms will have major roles in the evolution of life in all habitats. We predict that humankind and novel organisms will interact within a strong evolutionary bias that will lead to unexpected, and probably irreversible, outcomes of life on our planet. (Abstract excerpt)

Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim, et al, eds. Earth System Analysis for Sustainability. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. A 2003 Dahlem Workshop Report with four main sections: Long-term Geosphere-Biosphere Coevolution and Astrobiology; Possible States and Modes of Operation of the Quaternary (recent past) Earth System; Earth System Dynamics in the Anthropocene (present); and Sustainability. Its working perspective is an aware Gaia attaining its own knowledge which then need be intentionally applied by and to its invasive human phase. This activity constitutes a “second Copernican Revolution” to refocus on Earth as more organismic than clockwork, as a “single dynamical system far from thermodynamic equilibrium.” While a microbial stage is seen as widespread in the universe, technological intelligence is possibly quite rare. While precious Earth need select itself as a successful center of cosmic life, the tacit paradigm for the conferees remains an indifferent, expiring universe, which undercuts the project. A number of papers are noted elsewhere.

If humanity is to achieve a transition to sustainability, it will likely require a fundamental shift in the prevailing view of the world: from linear, compartmentalizable, mechanical to complex, interconnected, living. In this, Gaia may provide some hope and some answers. (431)

Shoshitaishvili, Boris. From Anthropocene to Noosphere: The Great Acceleration.. Earth's Future. 9/2, 2020. After a survey of both these models including original sources such as V. Vernadsky and P. Teilhard for global reason, a UC Berkeley postdoc anthropologist defines a novel, helpful contrast between them. In clear relief, an emphasis on matter and forces leads to despair without a common mindfulness of cooperation and mitigation.

The complex set of human‐driven global, social, technological, and environmental changes intensifying dramatically since 1950 has been identified as the “Great Acceleration.” This period of time represents a radical shift in our collective relationship to each other as well as to the Earth system as a whole. In this article I consider two major paradigms now taking shape to offer different perspectives on the Great Acceleration: The Anthropocene and the Noosphere. I explore the scientific‐intellectual traditions from which each paradigm derives and contrast their nearly opposite evaluations of global transformation. The Anthropocene has emerged as the paradigm of rupture, materiality, and warning; the Noosphere is about development, mind/culture, and hope. I also attempt to bringing the two divergent views closer together into a more unified and balanced vision of planetary change. (Abstract)

Shoshitaishvili, Boris. Is Our Planet Doubly Alive: Gaia, Globalization and Anthropocene Planetary Superorganisms. Anthropocene Review. April, 2022. A UC Berkeley philosophical linguist (search) continues to consider if some manner of worldwide speciesphere entity might be actually coming into its manifest formation. In this case, dual aspects of a Gaian biosphere and a human noosphere are broadly conceived. See also Economics for the Future: Beyond the Superorganism by Nate Hagens in Ecological Economics (169, 2020).

The theory of the superorganism—that there exist composite forms of life above the multicellular organism—has been part of scientific speculation since the late 1800s. The planetary version of a superorganic entity has developed in two different forms, the ecological form of Gaia theory and the sociological form of a worldwide humankind. In this article, I summarize the parallel histories of these biological and civilizational versions, consider the relationships of the two coexisting planetary superorganisms, and reflect on how this theory recasts the global environmental challenges of the Anthropocene. (Abstract)

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