Anthromes: A New Paradigm for the Biosphere

Like it or not We are living in the Anthropocene. This calls for a new way of looking at the biosphere:

Via  Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology:

Old Paradigm:
Natural systems with humans disturbing them

New Paradigm:
Human systems, with natural systems embedded within them

Ecosystems no longer dominate the planet but rather human systems:

Q: “What are Human Systems?”

A: Human systems emerge from human interactions. As individuals, and even as populations, humans are just another species. Human systems, on the other hand, represent the integrated effects of humans interacting with each other at scales capable of forcing changes in the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and other earth systems. Human systems have emerged as new primary earth systems, both by dramatically altering preexisting natural processes and more importantly, by introducing a host of new earth system-processes entirely novel to the earth system.

More information on this topic can be found at the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology.

11 Comments on "Anthromes: A New Paradigm for the Biosphere"

  1. Human systems kill humans.

  2. Fuck ’em.

    The planet is dying. What to do? Well, you cook up a theoretical framework in which that’s a good thing. Problem solved.

    I wish the people at the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology a fair trial.

    • The planet isn’t dying; we are. The LALE’s New Paradigm is that of a drunk in the gutter, imagining he’s a king.

      • Ted Heistman | Dec 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

        Well, that’s one way to look at. Is it the most useful way? Is it an empowering way?

        • I believe it is. If one routinely takes a shit on one’s bacon and eggs every morning, it is both useful and empowering to recognize one’s own behavior is the reason one keeps getting sick.

          • Ted Heistman | Dec 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

            So you you don’t think you are being simplistic? Having converted a huge portion of the Earth’s biomass into Agricultural Production, for example, is something that should be looked at like “Shitting where you eat” and the simple solution is that we should simply stop, immediately?

          • You’re misunderstanding my metaphor–“convert[ing] a huge portion of the Earth’s biomass into Agricultural Production” would be akin to making the bacon and eggs in the first place. Pumping antibiotics and hormones and bad feed into the pigs and chickens and polluting the air and water they (and we) breathe is akin to shitting where we eat. But “simply stop[ping], immediately” is only the beginning of a solution.

          • Ted Heistman | Dec 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

            Well, to give a little context, a lot of the thinkers behind “Next Nature” are Dutch. Holland as you may already know, is a completely man made country, without the complex system of dikes and levies, and canals, it would be an uninhabitable tidal marsh. In the midst of this man made country are nature preserves, forests and thinks like that where wild animals and plants are invited to live.

            This is a perfect example of a human system with natural systems embedded within it.

          • Ted Heistman | Dec 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm |

            Well, I’ve actually given it a lot of thought, and the idea of everyone suddenly abandoning civilization to return to the wilds to live as small bands of hunter gatherers employing only stone age level technology, might be a nice Romantic Idea, but is completely unfeasible.

            In my experience, Europeans are more adept than North Americans at combining urban planning and Environmental concerns.

  3. If our ethical/philosophical/spiritual evolution had kept pace with our technological process, that would indeed be the next natural step in the development of our species and the planet, to fully adopt the role of caretaker & designer. However…

    • Ted Heistman | Dec 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

      There are obviously problems, but I think their work could be a step in the right direction in properly framing things.

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