Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Managing the Planet: The Anthropocene, Good Stewardship, and the Empty Promise of a Solution to Ecological Crisis

Version 1 : Received: 30 April 2018 / Approved: 7 May 2018 / Online: 7 May 2018 (07:39:13 CEST)

How to cite: Stubblefield, C. Managing the Planet: The Anthropocene, Good Stewardship, and the Empty Promise of a Solution to Ecological Crisis . Preprints 2018, 2018050104 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0104.v1). Stubblefield, C. Managing the Planet: The Anthropocene, Good Stewardship, and the Empty Promise of a Solution to Ecological Crisis . Preprints 2018, 2018050104 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0104.v1).

Abstract

The Anthropocene has emerged as the dominant conceptualization of the current geological epoch and, more significantly, of Humanity’s relation to nature. By its proponents the Anthropocene is espoused as a “solution formulation,” an analytical tool which clarifies Humanity’s multifarious impacts on nature and nature’s subsequent crises; and further as a conceptual apparatus from which to launch mitigation and adaption strategies, promising deliverance from or at least engagement with ecological crises. However, the Anthropocene is not a neutral concept, merely illuminating transition within ecological conditions and connections between human activities and nature; rather, it is a particular prism from which to understand humanity’s relation to nature. And, as the Anthropocene becomes ascendant both analytically and politically, it becomes vital to question its imaginary, how it constructs nature and Humanity, how it influences and constrains responses to ecological crises, and what the long-term implications of operating within this imaginary are. I argue that the Anthropocene as a political/analytical prism rests upon flawed conceptions of nature, history, and humanity, rending it an impotent construct from which to respond to ecological crises; offering only partial and presumptive “solutions” in the form of intensified governmental regulation and the application of manifold technological “fixes” through the geoengineering of Earth’s systems, in an attempt to address isolated aspects of ecological destruction.  

Subject Areas

Anthropocene; nature; capitalism; ecological crisis; geoengineering; planetary boundaries; climate change; extinction; environmental crisis

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