Tag Archives | Anthropocene

The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us

260px-The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Richard Heinberg writes at the Earth Island Journal:

Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene. Who’d have thought that just one species among millions might be capable of such an amazing accomplishment?

Let’s wait to stock up on party favors, though. After all, the Anthropocene could be rather bleak. The reason our epoch has acquired a new name is that future geologists will be able to spot a fundamental discontinuity in the rock strata that document our little slice of time in Earth’s multi-billion year pageant. This discontinuity will be traceable to the results of human presence. Think climate change, ocean acidification, and mass extinction.

Welcome to the Anthropocene: A world that may feature little in the way of multi-cellular ocean life other than jellyfish, and one whose continents might be dominated by a few generalist species able to quickly occupy new and temporary niches as habitats degrade (rats, crows, and cockroaches come to mind).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Totem Animals for the Anthropocene

Picture: NARA (PD)

Picture: NARA (PD)

The new ecological paradigm is not nature with man-made systems interfering with it, but man-made systems with natural systems embedded in them. This vast man-made system encompasses the entire globe. There is no wilderness. There is no frontier. Nature has become completely co-opted by culture, but through chaos, randomness and unintended consequences, culture becomes nature once again.

In contrast to optimistic progress thinkers who believe human beings’ control of nature will steadily increase until we are ultimately able to live without it, I argue that the idea that we can completely dominate nature is an illusion. Nature is changing along with us

The Chernobyl Exclusion zone becomes a refuge for wolves and wild horses. Raccoons and coyotes take up residence in cities. Invasive species are on the rise.

As a person who practices shamanism, I no longer identify with federally protected endangered species, which are often tranquilized, radio-collared, inoculated, micro-chipped, poked, prodded and monitored from helicopters on a regular basis.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Encounters with “Next Nature”

Picture: DarkOne (CC)

Walking home from the coffee shop after I posted the article about “Next Nature”, I encountered a small animal that suddenly became huge and threatening.  That is, it seemed small and harmless at first when I thought it was a friendly dog, but when I realized it was a large raccoon it suddenly seemed huge and scary. It approached me very boldly, but it was not interested in me but in a point just behind me; a gap in the fence which gave it access to some dumpsters near a bus station.

My fear became curiosity in a fraction of a second: “Cool, an urban raccoon!” I thought. I noticed it had a stumpy tail; most of it had probably been lost in a fight or some type of accident. It was clearly a survivor. The stumpy tail made it appear even bigger and more bear-like as it shuffled off to the dumpster.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.… Read the rest

Continue Reading