In May our new book Det levande (The Living) will be published in Sweden. As can be gleaned from the title, the book’s theme is the relation between us and the rest of the living nature.
The somber truth is that the vast bulk of nature’s staggering abundance has already disappeared. We live in a world characterized primarily by the relative silence and emptiness of its natural spaces.
Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System by Ian Angus synthesises findings from cutting edge research in the natural and social sciences to demonstrate how capitalism’s excessive drive for growth, fostered by the rapid burning of fossil fuels for economic gains, has driven the earth to the brink of disaster.
An important new paper, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science (RSOS), makes a convincing case that modern broiler chickens are a “distinct and characteristic new morphospecies ….[that] symbolizes the unprecedented human reconfiguration of the Earth’s biosphere.”
While biologists have long agreed that humans are the dominant lifeform of the Anthropocene, some geologists now argue that, during the pivotal Concretaceous phase, it was the automobile that served as the true apex species.
The history of the earth system is normally described in terms of a series of time subdivisions defined by discrete (or “punctuated”) stratigraphic changes in the geological record, mainly in terms of biotic composition. The most recent of these subdivisions is the proposed “Anthropocene,” a term related to the strong perturbation of the ecosystem created by human activity.
Our tenuous hold on life – framed, as it were, within our doctrine of ‘living in the moment’ – seems all the more fragile when one considers the sheer inability displayed by the human species to understand and act on the threats now posed to society. The damage wreaked on our environment by the emissions of toxic chemicals, habitat destruction and the paradigm of ‘growth whatever the cost’ continues, and yet for world governments it’s still business as usual.
There are plenty of troubling things about the Anthropocene. But to my mind, one of its most troubling dimensions is the sheer number of people it fails to trouble.
As the Trump administration and Republicans in power in Congress set to work destroying environmental regulations, scientists have added urgency to the resistance with a simple new equation that shows the staggering effect human activity has had on the climate. Their findings? Humans have altered the climate 170 times faster than natural forces.
Looking for a ray of sunshine amidst seemingly endless news of the warming planet, global biodiversity loss, or ongoing war?
Over the last century, humans have littered the oceans with plastic, pumped CO2 into the air and raked fertilisers across the land. The impact of our species is so severe and so enduring that the current geological time period could soon be declared the “Anthropocene”.
If people just hear that humans are destroying the environment, they aren’t given much incentive to act or even think much.