Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Why recognizing the Anthropocene Age doesn’t matter

Philosophy News image
You’ve probably heard that we’re living in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in which human activity is the dominant geological process.If you’ve been attentive to discussion surrounding the Anthropocene, you probably also know that the Anthropocene Working Group, a panel of scientists tasked to make a recommendation as to whether geologists should formally recognize the Anthropocene, voted just a few months ago to recommend recognizing the new epoch.And if you’ve been really attentive, you’ll be aware that, despite widespread adoption of “Anthropocene” talk, there remains some serious opposition to officially recognizing the Anthropocene. Some researchers think such recognition would be premature. Others call attention to the fact that humans have been transforming the planet for thousands of years, and there is no sudden, recent, tipping point in this process. Yet others are skeptical that our impact on the planet is as geologically significant as we, in typical human hubris, think it is. And socially-oriented environmental activists have argued that it is misleading to conceptualize an “Anthropo”-cene when the environmental crisis isn’t driven by humankind in general, but by a subset of industrialized cultures.Most of this opposition to the Anthropocene involves contestation of the relevant facts surrounding global change. But there’s another important angle as well: seeing the question of the Anthropocene as a question of science communication.Official recognition of the Anthropocene, it’s often claimed, will help communicate the seriousness of the environmental crisis to the public.This is wishful thinking.Why would we think that a bunch of geologists adding another label to the geologic time scale would shift public opinion on issues like climate change?Well, we might hope that people will be moved by the fact that a whole field of science has come to a consensus that human activity is radically altering the planet. Except that a whole field of. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

blog comments powered by Disqus