(logo) Natural Genesis (logo text)
A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
Table of Contents
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
Recent Additions

VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreative Future

1. An Anthropocene Age: Human Civilization Takes Over and Changes Every Feature

Tonnessen, Morten, et al, eds. Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016. As the summary cites, postmodern scholars struggle to respectfully grasp what this evident radical phase means in the historic, evolutionary and global scheme of whatever reality there may be. Samples chapters are Dangerous Intersubjectivities from Dionysos to Kanzi by Louise Westling, and Out of the Metazoic? By Bronislaw Szerszynski.

The term “Anthropocene”, the era of mankind, is increasingly being used as a scientific designation for the current geological epoch. This is because the human species now dominates ecosystems worldwide, and affects nature in a way that rivals natural forces in magnitude and scale. Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene presents a dozen chapters that address the role and place of animals in this epoch characterized by anthropogenic (human-made) environmental change. While some chapters describe our impact on the living conditions of animals, others question conventional ideas about human exceptionalism, and stress the complex cognitive and other abilities of animals. The Anthropocene idea forces us to rethink our relation to nature and to animals, and to critically reflect on our own role and place in the world, as a species.

Tsing, Anna, et al, eds. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. A collection from a UC Santa Cruz 2014 gathering so as to allow and consider radically organic, vitalist, creaturely options to this lumpen age of mechanized, rapacious consumption. A guiding theme became novel appreciations of life’s pervasive symbiotic and autopoietic essence across internal, communal and ecological scales, beyond only isolate individuals. Luminous papers such as Symbiogenesis, Sympoiesis, and Art Science Activisms by Donna Haraway, Holobiont by Birth by Scott Gilbert and The Postmodern Synthesis in Biology by Margaret McFall-Ngai, along with lively images bring an especial glow. A final entry is Coda. Beautiful Monsters: Terra in the Cyanocene by Dorion Sagan since this vivid array is inspired by and draws upon Lynn Margulis’ biospheric vision.

Living on a damaged planet challenges who we are and where we live. This timely anthology calls on twenty eminent humanists and scientists to revitalize curiosity, observation, and transdisciplinary conversation about life on earth. As human-induced environmental change threatens multispecies livability, this volume puts forward a bold proposal: entangled histories, situated narratives, and thick descriptions offer urgent “arts of living.” Included are essays by scholars in anthropology, ecology, science studies, art, literature, and bioinformatics who posit critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. Ghosts and Monsters are tentacular, windy, and arboreal arts that invite readers to encounter ants, lichen, rocks, electrons, flying foxes, salmon, chestnut trees, mud volcanoes, border zones, graves, radioactive waste—in short, the wonders and terrors of an unintended epoch.

Usher, Phillip John. Untranslating the Anthropocene. Diacritics. 44/3, 2017. Yes, we are aware of and peruse journals of the academic postmodern humanities. In this Johns Hopkins University Press journal, a NYU professor of French and comparative literature muses about whatever this current word might actually apply to and mean.

As part of an issue of Diacritics on "Untimely Actualities," this article takes its impetus from Barbara Cassin's "Dictionary of Unstranslatables" (ed. in English by Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood), in order to ask: what do we say when we say "Anthropocene"? The point is not to offer yet another definition of, or counter-term for, the Anthropocene, but to unpack the "anthropos" within the cross-linguistic histories of which it is part (homo, humanism, posthumanism, anthropos, anthropology, etc.). (Editor)

Waring, Timothy, et al. Characteristic processes of human evolution caused the Anthropocene and may obstruct its global solutions.. Philosophical Transactions B. November, 2023. In the Future part, TW, University of Maine, Zachary Wood, Colby College, Maine and Eörs Szathmáry, Centre for Ecological Research, Budapest scan from a rapacious past to a liveable ecoworld in sections like The evolution of the human ecological niche, Human evolutionary ratchets help explain the Anthropoce, Collective environmental governance, and Research Agendas. The authors make especial note of the major evolutionary transitions scale as it may be emerging to its next planetary culmination, see quotes.

We propose that the global environmental crises are due to a ratcheting process in long-term human evolution which has favors groups of increased size and larger impacts. We review evidence that the growth of the human niche is due to a societal insistence for more environmental control. Following this logic, sustaining the biosphere will require a global culture with legal and technical systems. Our analysis suggests that these conditions which created the Anthropocene will work against collective solutions to the challenges it has led to. (Abstract)

It has been proposed that human evolution can be described as an evolutionary transition in inheritance and individuality (ETII). In this paper, we develop the hypothesis that the human take over of the biosphere is a consequence of this ongoing human evolutionary transition. Our effort is in the spirit of developing the novel theory necessary for the unprecedented challenges of our time. (2-3)

Many agree that human evolution may be defined by some kind of evolutionary transition. For example, while protolanguage may have appeared in Homo erectus and catalysed human evolution , the ‘social protocell’ model depends on differential reproduction of cultural groups with heritable institutions. Others posit that a transition in individuality may culminate in an egalitarian form joining humans with artificial intelligence. (3)

Williams, Mark, et al. The Anthropocene Biosphere. The Anthropocene Review. 2/3, 2015. In this new journal which considers the many effects of this novel phase of major human impact, leading environmentalists such as Jan Zalasiewicz and Anthony Barnosky provide a technical survey of the resultant state of Earth’s biologically conducive envelope. Typical entries might be Earth System, Geological, Philosophical and Political Paradigm Shifts by Mark Maslin and Simon Lewis (2/2) and The Trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration by Will Steffen, et al (2/1).

The geological record preserves evidence for two fundamental stages in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere, a microbial stage from ~3.5 to 0.65 Ga, and a metazoan stage evident by c. 650 Ma. We suggest that the modern biosphere differs significantly from these previous stages and shows early signs of a new, third stage of biosphere evolution characterised by: (1) global homogenisation of flora and fauna; (2) a single species (Homo sapiens) commandeering 25–40% of net primary production and also mining fossil net primary production (fossil fuels) to break through the photosynthetic energy barrier; (3) human-directed evolution of other species; and (4) increasing interaction of the biosphere with the technosphere (the global emergent system that includes humans, technological artefacts, and associated social and technological networks). These unique features of today’s biosphere may herald a new era in the planet’s history that could persist over geological timescales. (Abstract)

Zalasiewicz, Jan, et al. Making the Case for a Formal Anthropocene Epoch. Newsletters on Stratigraphy. 50/2, 2017. 27 senior coauthors including Will Steffen, Jacques Grinevald, Mark Williams, and Andrew Rifkin make a scientific and conceptual statement to rebut recent criticisms. This latest human phase in its global presence does in fact constitute a distinct, post-Holocene geological and biospheric era.

A range of published arguments against formalizing the Anthropocene as a geological time unit have variously suggested that it is a misleading term of non-stratigraphic origin and usage, is based on insignificant temporal and material stratigraphic content unlike that used to define older geological time units, and is driven more by politics than science. In response, we contend that the Anthropocene is a functional term that has firm geological grounding in a well-characterized stratigraphic record. The Anthropocene differs from previously defined epochs in reflecting contemporary geological change, which in turn also leads to the term's use over a wide range of social and political discourse. Here we respond to the arguments opposing the geological validity and utility of the Anthropocene, and submit that a strong case may be made for the Anthropocene to be treated as a formal chronostratigraphic unit and added to the Geological Time Scale. (Abstract excerpt)

Zalasiewicz, Jan, et al. The New World of the Anthropocene. Environmental Science & Technology. 44/7, 2010. With co-authors Mark Williams, Will Steffen, and Paul Crutzen, we cite this reference to enter a term that has lately become accepted to describe a radical age of earth evolution. First advanced in 2000 by Nobel chemist Crutzen, earlier an alarmist about nuclear winter, it has caught on to represent vast alterations to geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere due to human industrial and commercial impact. Cover stories in National Geographic for March 2011, The Economist for May 26, 2011, along with a March 2011 dedicated issue on the Anthropocene in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, indicate its value in providing a planetary platform for discussion. These contributions document the epochal degree in hardly more than a century to which earth’s surface is being made over, and then advocate imperative remediations so in our insensate excess we do not terminally destroy it (an apocalyptic summer?).

Zalasiewicz, Jan, et al. The Working Group on the Anthropocene: Summary of Evidence and Interim Recommendations. Anthropocene. 19/55, 2017. In common usage, the Anthropocene refers to a time interval marked by rapid but profound and far-reaching change to the Earth’s geology, currently driven by various forms of human impact. (1) Some 26 senior authors such as Paul Crutzen and Will Steffen review this continuing sensible project to fully understand and define this crucial latest era.

Zalasiewicz, Jan, et al, eds. The Anthropocene as a Geological Time Unit: A Guide to the Scientific Evidence and Current Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Into the 21st century, this concept of a late historic era due to the populous industrial, technological, citified, resource-consuming, energy-burning human species has gained common use. The collection gathers many Earth system studies by which to certify a true evolutionary stage beyond the Holocene (12,000 years ago to circa 1950). Among its seven sections are History and Development as a Stratigraphic Concept, Biostratigraphic Signatures, The Technosphere and its Physical Record, and Climate Change, with authoritative entries by Will Steffen, Colin Waters, Naomi Oreskes, Mark Williams, Jacques Grinevald, and many more. We note The Technosphere and its Relation to the Anthropocene by Peter Haff which argues that a common, willful intention will be vital to mitigate and sustain.

The anthroposphere encompasses the total human presence throughout the Earth system including our culture, technology, built environment, and associated activities. The anthroposphere complements the term anthropocene – the age within which the anthroposphere developed. Some mark this age as beginning with the advent of agriculture, others with the industrial revolution. A growing movement within the geological community is considering establishing the anthropocene as a new geologic era, possibly starting around 1950. In physical terms, the anthroposphere is comprised of the cities, villages, energy and transportation networks, farms, mines, and ports. It also encompasses books, software, blueprints, and communication systems - the mark of civilization. (Aspen Global Change Institute)

Previous   1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5