VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Astropocene CoCreative Future
C. An Earthropocene Era: Pedia Sapiens Can Choose a Unified Peaceful, Viable Ecosphere
Lionnet, Francoise, et al. The Human Face of Development. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 29/2, 2003. An introduction to a special issue on Development Cultures which debates issues such as global feminist ethics, the individual/collective and universalist/cultural relativist dichotomies and indigenous African wisdom.
Liu, Jianquo, et al. Systems Integration for Global Sustainability. Science. 347/963, 2015. Eleven senior environmentalists across the United States, with international roots, declare that any practical remediation over a finite biosphere must be done in a holistic, all inclusive fashion. Separate projects that may address water, energy, food, only should be integrated into common, unified programs.
Global sustainability challenges, from maintaining biodiversity to providing clean air and water, are closely interconnected yet often separately studied and managed. Systems integration—holistic approaches to integrating various components of coupled human and natural systems—is critical to understand socioeconomic and environmental interconnections and to create sustainability solutions. Recent advances include the development and quantification of integrated frameworks that incorporate ecosystem services, environmental footprints, planetary boundaries, human-nature nexuses, and telecoupling. Although systems integration has led to fundamental discoveries and practical applications, further efforts are needed to incorporate more human and natural components simultaneously, quantify spillover systems and feedbacks, integrate multiple spatial and temporal scales, develop new tools, and translate findings into policy and practice. Such efforts can help address important knowledge gaps, link seemingly unconnected challenges, and inform policy and management decisions.
Lucht, W. and R. K. Pachauri. The Mental Component of the Earth System. Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim, et al, eds. Earth System Analysis for Sustainability. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. The authors consider what effective cognitive systems are needed for peoples to fully address and respond to the sustainability imperative? Four elements: GeoScope – interplay of observation and theory; GeoGraphy – how apply generalized knowledge in societies; GeoMind – aspects of personal identity; and GeoAction – a balance of representation and governance; are proposed in reply.
Marshall, Stephen. Cities, Design, and Evolution. London: Routledge, 2009. A University College London urban planner proposes to “Learn from Science and Nature” as a way to reinvent, reorient and vitalize human habitations. By gathering many recent studies, he achieves a deft employ of evolutionary themes together with emergent, self-organizing, multifractal complexities. A deep mathematical viability can thus be discerned whereof cities are most like an ecosystem. (See also Waltner-Toews, et al, herein)
Mayor, Frederico. The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making. London: Zed Books, 2001. A former director of UNESCO defines four “contracts” with society, nature, culture and ethics by which to address the critical issues of population, poverty, cities, food, energy, women, environment, education, and peace. Seven principles are suggested: trust the people, care for the planet, smart is beautiful, prepare for peace if you want peace, give to others if you wish to receive, a global democracy, and lastly, it is our future to create.
McDonagh, Sean. The Death of Life. Dublin: Columbia Press, 2004. An environmentalist, author and priest in the tradition of Thomas Berry and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin contends that for too far long the Catholic church has distrusted and denigrated a world seen as flawed and fallen. In a new millennium, a creation theology is more appropriate that can value and care for a deeply numinous nature. Of special concern to McDonagh is the precipitous extinction of animal species through habitat destruction.
Melillo, Jerry, et al. Ecology and the Transition to Sustainability. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 3/1, 2003. In this new journal from the Ecological Society of America, an introduction to a special issue on Visions for an Ecologically Sustainable Future. The ESA program for a relevant 21st century science and practice is summarized in this overview article, along with several case studies. A formal vision statement and action plan can be accessed at www.esa.org/ecovisions.
Merchant, Carolyn. Reinventing Eden. New York: Routledge, 2003. Historian Merchant summarizes a quarter century of her insightful critiques of the masculine devastation of the Earth that began with her 1980 landmark The Death of Nature. Rather than this Enlightenment agenda to recover a primal age through controlled environments such as shopping malls and gated communities, a respectful rapport with nature and a reciprocity between women and men is advised which can preserve an essence of original wilderness.
Like others, I yearn for a Recovery from environmental decline – for my own vision of a postpartiarchal, socially just ecotopia for the third millennium. A partnership ethic implies a remything of the Edenic Recovery Narrative or the writing of a new narrative altogether. The new story would not accept the patriarchal sequence of creation, but might instead emphasize simultaneous creation, cooperative male/female evolution, or an emergence out of chaos or the earth. It would not accept the ideal of subduing the earth, or even dressing and keeping the garden, since both entail total domestication and control by human beings. Instead each earthly place would be a home, a community, to be shared with other living and non living things. The needs of both humans and nonhumans would be dynamically balanced. (242)
Milani, Brian. Designing the Green Economy: The Postindustrial Alternative to Corporate Globalization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. An indictment of rapacious corporations backed by a practical manifesto for achieving ecologically sustainable, humane, local communities. The book’s laudatory preface is written by Thomas Berry.
Miller, Steven and Scott Sagan. Nuclear Power without Nuclear Proliferation. Daedalus. Fall, 2009. The lead article for a special issue on “The Global Nuclear Future” which gathers authorities such as Sam Nunn, Anne Lauvergeon, Robert Socolow, and many others. A second volume on the same radioactive subject will appear in the Winter 2010 issue. For while this energy option is gaining support as a long term approach to truly mitigate climate change, the wild card is how to keep nuclear materials away from tribal terrorists. A further aspect for a nuclear power renaissance is how to do it right this time, surely not the same prior way as Iraq was invaded with no forethought, contextual plan, bad equipment or sense of magnitude. A good companion book in this regard would be Power to Save the World by activist author Gwyneth Cravens (Knopf, 2009).
Moobela, Cletus. From Worst Slum to Best Example of Regeneration: Complexity in the Regeneration of Hulme, Manchester. Emergence: Complexity and Organization. 7/1, 2005. Google the author to access this summary of his doctoral thesis online. The paper begins by a contrast of the old mechanistic model and a new holistic vision of nature, seen as a grand revolution from material machine to dynamic organism. By these lights, urban areas can be rightly appreciated as complex adaptive systems poised between order and chaos. But effective facilitation and change need be situated within and respectful of the prior realities of a specific neighborhood.
Nadeau, Robert. The Environmental Endgame. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006. An English professor at George Mason University and co-author with Menas Kafatos of works that expand scientific frontiers here tackles a rethinking of global economics and ecologies. Noting how Thomas Berry has called for a ‘New Story’ of a life-friendly cosmos to supplant the reigning but terminal mechanist model, Nadeau surveys the animate fluxes of self-organizing, non-equilibrium systems to show how they reveal a more viable, sustainable abide. With the human presence distinguished by complex language abilities, which now confer God-like powers over the biosphere, it is our responsibility to conceive an Environmental Ethic and Ethos appropriate to the task.