VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreative Future
C. An Earthropocene Era: Pedia Sapiens Can Choose a Unified Peaceful, Viable Ecosphere
Bryner, Gary. Gaia’s Wager. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. In a modern version of Pascal’s wager, it would do us well to act as if the earth was, in fact, a self-regulating but critically-poised, organically unified biosphere and base our environmental policy upon this premise.
Burnside, William, et al. Human Macroecology: Linking Pattern and Process in Big-Picture Human Ecology. Biological Reviews. 87/1, 2012. Burnside, with James Brown, Melanie Moses, and Marcus Hamilton, University of New Mexico, Oskar Burger, Max Planck Institute, and Luis Bettencourt, LANL, achieve an expansive placement and integration of we Homo Sapiens within encompassing spatial environments and temporal evolution. This involves as its crux the “acquiring and allocating” of energies from hunter-gatherer times to industrial metabolisms and urban intensities. In this regard, life histories, social networks, linguistic diversities, cultural systems, disease epidemics, and so on, are entrained in this sense. As a result, from our collaborative retrospect, deep similarities and continuities can be traced as if an evidently singular anatomical and physiological, human to humankind, gestation-like development.
Humans have a dual nature. We are subject to the same natural laws and forces as other species yet dominate global ecology and exhibit enormous variation in energy use, cultural diversity, and apparent social organization. We suggest scientists tackle these challenges with a macroecological approach—using comparative statistical techniques to identify deep patterns of variation in large datasets and to test for causal mechanisms. We show the power of a metabolic perspective for interpreting these patterns and suggesting possible underlying mechanisms, one that focuses on the exchange of energy and materials within and among human societies and with the biophysical environment. Examples on human foraging ecology, life history, space use, population structure, disease ecology, cultural and linguistic diversity patterns, and industrial and urban systems showcase the power and promise of this approach. (Abstract, 194)
Callicott, J. Baird.
Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic.
New York: Oxford University Press,
The University of North Texas research professor, and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, proceeds to join Aldo Leopold’s (1886-1948) remedial Land Ethic with his early glimpses of a biospheric import. Widely read for his day, Leopold drew upon the Russian esotericist Pyotr Ouspensky (1878-1947), and many others, for deeper gleanings of an innately animate environment. With this unique resource, Callicott goes on to sketch a 21st century version that avails James Lovelock’s self-regulating Gaia system, along with the holistic geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945), unknown to Leopold.
Bringing together ecology, evolutionary moral psychology, and environmental ethics, J. Baird Callicott counters the narrative of blame and despair that prevails in contemporary discussions of climate ethics and offers a fresh, more optimistic approach. Whereas other environmental ethicists limit themselves to what Callicott calls Rational Individualism in discussing the problem of climate change only to conclude that, essentially, there is little hope that anything will be done. Instead, he encourages us to look to the Earth itself, and consider the crisis on grander spatial and temporal scales, as we have failed to in the past. Callicott supports this theory by exploring and enhancing Aldo Leopold's sketch of an Earth ethic in "Some Fundamentals of Conservation in the Southwest.” (Publisher)
Camara, Antonio. Environmental Systems. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. A detailed work on the preparation of environmentally relevant multimedia websites.
Chown, Steven and Kevin Gaston. Macrophysiology for a Changing World. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 275/1469, 2008. “Environmental physiologists” contend that such a perspective can vitally appreciate the systematic changes in the litany of climate, biodiversity, habitat loss, invasive species, overexploitation, pollution, et alia, so as to coordinate appropriate responses. With regard to efforts to counter “global warming,” an inadequate term, a familiar concept for folks would be to realize that the biosphere is actually trying to set (or reset) a homeostatic temperature, akin to 98.60 F, for its latest phase of phenomenal humankind.
Chu, Ted. Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution. San Rafael, CA: Origins Press, 2014. An international economist with degrees from Fudan University, Shanghai and a doctorate from Georgetown University, now based in Dubai, achieves a unique synthesis of traditional wisdom with our latest scientific transfigurative prowess. With a Foreword by theologian John Haught, it is made clear that he does not intend a machine takeover as the near Singularity. An early chapter records an original Axial Age for both Eastern and Western cultures, especially as a “Yin-Yang reality.” By these lights a Second Axial Age is proposed to commence an intentional transformative procreation of a Cosmic Being. The overall message, akin to the prescience of a Nikolai Fedorov and Pierre Teilhard, is an “hourglass view” (127) whence temporal creation does not end with us, but needs to wholly pass through its human phenomenon on earth, which has “a critical role in cosmic evolution.”
Cleveland, Cutler, et al, eds. The Economics of Nature and the Nature of Economics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2001. Advances in the theory, concepts and practical application of ecological economics and sustainable development.
Cockell, Charles. Space on Earth: Saving Our World by Seeking Others. London: Macmillan, 2007. The Open University geomicrobiologist argues for a common viability of biosphere and spacesphere. A grand scientific and technological project can at once promote alternative energy sources and reveal life’s fecund ubiquity across celestial reaches. A typical chapter is Greening the Universe.
But the space-faring environmental ethic provides a completely new reason for ecosystem preservation and conservation – an understanding that ecosystems have universal value as unique interstellar examples of life and evolution. (123)
Cocks, Doug. Deep Futures. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003. An Australian ecologist explores avenues to a more sustainable and humane abide in the near and far future. A novel approach to do this is to appreciate societies as complex self-organizing systems set within an evolutionary emergence. As humankind might then be perceived to form a global brain, its activity of perpetual education ought to be fostered for the good of everyone.
The chapter (Learning Forever) is a search for guidelines for making world society into more of a learning society that it is now, a learning society being one in which high priority is given to the social learning task, that is to building up of a sufficient body of collective knowledge (useful information) to ensure quality survival. For example, more knowledge of how the world and universe work, with a degree of emphasis on human behavioral and mental processes, is particularly important. (xvi) Society is then a complex adaptive system in which many participants are interacting and modifying their own behavior in response to others, that is, co-evolving. (180)
Corcoran, Peter, editor-in-chief. Toward a Sustainable World: The Earth Charter in Action. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2005. After Prefaces by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, and a Foreword by Wangari Maathai, the comprehensive volume documents the laudable mission of the Earth Charter Initiative to accomplish a vital transition to local and global sustainability. Among its authors are Mary Evelyn Tucker (Living Cosmology), Leonardo Boff (Community of Life), Jane Goodall (Our World’s Youth), Alberto Cárdenas Jiménez and Mateo A. Castillo Ceja (Just, Participatory, Peaceful Societies), and so on. The book in its entirety can be accessed at this website: www.earthcharter.org.
Crist, Eileen and H. Bruce Rinker, eds. Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010. Reviewed more in A Living Planet, a section of some 8 chapters such as “Sustainability and an Earth Operating System” by Tim Foresman explore in depth a biological remediation of our rapacious growth culture.
Crossette, Barbara. Women Seek Louder Voice as World Peacemakers. New York Times. May 28, 2000. To note just one valiant effort. As a conflagration of male violence fueled by assault rifles takes over the continent of Africa, women are trying to apply their network and nurture skills to peacemaking. In Somalia for example, a “demobilization” campaign gives young men food, shelter and an education in exchange for guns, “which is really what they want.”