Development Report 2020: The Next Frontier—Human Development and the Anthropocene , hereafter HDR 2020 ( UNDP 2020 ); the February 2022 Special Report New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene , hereafter SR 2022 ( UNDP 2022a ); and the Human
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Rethinking Human Development and/as Human Security for the Anthropocene
An Analysis of the United Nations Development Programme Trilogy of Reports 2020–2022
J. Cristobal Pizarro and Brendon M. H. Larson
, now that humans have become a major geological force, rapid social-ecological changes have created novelty to such an extent that scientists propose a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene ( Crutzen 2002 ; Lewis 2015 ). In this epoch, increasing
Beyond the Anthropocene
Un-Earthing an Epoch
Valerie Olson and Lisa Messeri
As “the Anthropocene” emerges as a geological term and environmental analytic, this paper examines its emerging rhetorical topology. We show that Anthropocene narratives evince a macroscale division between an “inner” and “outer” environment. This division situates an Anthropocenic environment that matters in the surface zone between Earth's subsurface and the extraterrestrial “outer spaces” that we address here. We review literature in the sciences and social sciences to show how contemporary environmental thinking has been informed by understandings of Earth's broader planet-scaled environmental relations. Yet, today's Anthropocene conversation draws analytic attention inward and downward. Bringing in literature from scholars who examine the role of the extraterrestrial and outer environmental perspectives in terrestrial worlds, we suggest that Anthropocenic theorizations can productively incorporate inclusive ways of thinking about environments that matter. We argue for keeping “Anthropocene” connected to its spatial absences and physical others, including those that are non-anthropos in the extreme.
In the 1970s, scholar Ina-Maria Greverus was a pioneer in opening German Volkskunde towards international horizons. Her concept of human-environment interaction as “territoriality”, inspired by US-american cultural ecology, is reconsidered as an anthropology of the Anthropocene avant la lettre.
Anthropological Engagement with the Anthropocene
A Critical Review
Hannah Gibson and Sita Venkateswar
The Anthropocene refers to the planetary scale of anthropogenic influences on the composition and function of Earth ecosystems and life forms. Socio-political and geographic responses frame the uneven topographies of climate change, while efforts to adapt and mitigate its impact extend across social and natural sciences. This review of anthropology's evolving engagement with the Anthropocene contemplates multifarious approaches to research. The emergence of multispecies ethnographic research highlights entanglements of humans with other life forms. New ontological considerations are reflected in Kohn's “Anthropology of Life,” ethnographic research that moves beyond an isolated focus on the human to consider other life processes and entities as research participants. Examples of critical engagement discussed include anthropology beyond disciplinary borders, queries writing in the Anthropocene, and anthropology of climate change. We demonstrate the diverse positions of anthropologists within this juncture in relation to our central trope of entanglements threaded through our discussion in this review.
Anthropocene Dynamics in the Prehistoric Pacific
Modeling Emergent Socioecological Outcomes of Environmental Change
Thomas P. Leppard
How will human societies evolve in the face of the massive changes humans themselves are driving in the earth systems? Currently, few data exist with which to address this question. I argue that archaeological datasets from islands provide useful models for understanding long-term socioecological responses to large-scale environmental change, by virtue of their longitudinal dimension and their relative insulation from broader biophysical systems. Reviewing how colonizing humans initiated biological and physical change in the insular Pacific, I show that varied adaptations to this dynamism caused diversification in social and subsistence systems. This diversification shows considerable path dependency related to the degree of heterogeneity/homogeneity in the distribution of food resources. This suggests that the extent to which the Anthropocene modifies agroeconomic land surfaces toward or away from patchiness will have profound sociopolitical implications.
Surveying the Chemical Anthropocene
Chemical Imaginaries and the Politics of Defining Toxicity
Yogi Hale Hendlin
If the Anthropocene is defined as the age in which industrialization briefly became a predominant disruptor of Earth's geological forces, then the proliferation of chemical manufacturing and synthesis has played a central role. This article
This article begins by introducing educational humanism, the Anthropocene concept, and the political ecology of education framework that guides the analysis. I then demonstrate that the current Anthropocene-informed educational research literature pragmatically focuses on how education has the capacity to serve as a means to adapt to the impending environmental challenges of the current geological epoch. I argue that though this literature makes important contributions, educational researchers doing Anthropocene-informed work would benefit from an ecofeminist and/or posthumanist political ecology of education. This conceptual lens: (1) examines how the kinds of human-nature relationships perpetuated in educational spaces are the result of complex and scaled political factors and (2) questions and reimagines human-nature divides reified in educational practice and research. Throughout the article, the persistent humanism of the American formal education system is critiqued, drawing on both the extant literature and a textual analysis of the Framework for K–12 Science Education.
Richard D.G. Irvine and Mina Gorji
This article explores what it might mean to interweave social and natural history, taking as its inspiration the work of the English poet John Clare (1793-1864). If Dipesh Chakrabarty (2009) is right in suggesting that the recognition that we are now in the Anthropocene - a geological epoch of our own making - will force us to re-read human history in the light of planetary history and deep time, John Clare's work provides us with a way of thinking how this might be done. Clare's explorations of human and natural temporalities, and his challenges to our dominant sense of value, may help us to think beyond anthropocentricism and to re-evaluate assumptions of economic progress. With this in mind, we conclude by placing Clare's poetry in conversation with John Locke and his labour theory of value.
Navigating Crises of Scale in the Anthropocene
A Note to Engaged Anthropologists
Gauri Pathak and Mark Nichter
Anthropocene, associated with a layer of plastic deposits from the 1950s onward, is being referred to as the ‘plasticine’ ( Stager 2011 ). The total cumulative (primary) production of plastics from 1950 to 2017 is estimated to have been 9.2 billion tonnes