Sustainability and Peaceful Coexistence for the Anthropocene
The rapid industrialisation of societies has resulted in radical changes to the Earth’s biosphere and its local ecosystems. Climate scientists have recorded and forecasted worrying global temperature rises going back to the early twentieth century, while biologists and palaeontologists have suggested that the next mass extinction is on its way if the current rate of species loss continues. To avert further ecological damage, excessive natural resource use and environmental deterioration are challenges that humanity must deal with now. The human species has had an impact on the natural environment so significant that the present geological era can be referred to as the ‘Anthropocene’, the age of humans. The blame and responsibility for the prevailing unsustainability, however, cannot be assigned equally to all humans.
To analyse the root problems and consequences of unsustainable development, as well as to outline rigorous solutions for the contemporary epoch, this transdisciplinary book brings together natural and social sciences under the rubric of the Anthropocene. The book identifies the central preconditions for social organisation and governance to enable peaceful coexistence of humans and the non-human world. The contributors investigate the burning questions of sustainability from a number of different perspectives including geosciences, economics, law, organisational studies, political theory, and philosophy. The book is a state-of-the-art review of the Anthropocene debate and provides crucial signposts for how human activities can, and should, be changed.
Editor: Pasi Heikkurinen (University of Leeds, UK)
Foreword (Series Editor Paolo Davide Farah)
I CONCEPTS, CAUSES, AND CONSEQUENCES
1 On the Emergence of Peaceful Coexistence
2 The Anthropocene: A Geological Perspective
Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin Waters
3 Climate Change Immigrants or Refugees of the Anthropocene — Adapting to or Denying Climate Change?
II CAPITALISM AND NEOLIBERAL GOVERNMENTALITY
4 Capitalism and the Absolute Contradiction in the Anthropocene
5 Managing the Environment: Neoliberal Governmentality in the Anthropocene
Jessica C. Lawrence
III THINKING AND THE NON-HUMAN WORLD
6 ‘It’s Getting Better and Better, Worse and Worse, Faster and Faster’: The Human Animal in the Anthropocene
7 Scale, Noosphere Two, and the Anthropocene
IV POST-GROWTH SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS
8 Engaging with the Plutocene: Moving towards Degrowth and Post-Capitalistic Futures
Marko Ulvila, Kristoffer Wilén
9 Conceptualising Worker Agency for the Challenges of the Anthropocene: Examples from Recycling Work in the Global North Eeva Houtbeckers, Tiina Taipale
10 From Exploitation and Expansion to Evolutionary Coexistence: A New Realism for Life beyond the Anthropocene
Karl Johan Bonnedahl
Notes on Contributors
CALL FOR BOOK CHAPTERS
Ethics and Politics of the Anthropocene
The Earth is in the middle of an enormous crisis, often referred to as the ‘Anthropocene’, the age of humans. In this new geological time humans interfere with the processes of the non-human world to an ever-greater extent and at a faster rate than ever before. This has produced an ecological crisis, but also socio-cultural one: unjust and inequitable distribution of wealth has accelerated since the Industrial Revolution.
As a response to this socio-ecological crisis, political and economic actors have called for a transition to sustainability, a post-industrial mode of production fueled by green and clean technology. This reformist agenda, employing notions such as ‘sustainable development’, ‘sustainable growth’ and ‘green economy’, posits that advances of modern technology and economic development are the ways to solve the problems of the Anthropocene. Yet, the offered solutions neither challenge the root causes of the ecological destruction, namely economic growth combined with the growth of population, nor the prevailing social injustices maintained by the capitalist mode of production. Instead, the Anthropocene problems are treated as externalities or market failures that can be addressed by more efficient organization of economic activities.
This book’s intention is to move beyond the techno-capitalist regime and call for new and more radical ways for addressing current social-economic crisis. To this aim, we envisage a new narrative of change that is based upon deep transformations rather than mere social and economic reforms. Such a narrative does not outline the transformation, but rather renders visible ‘small’ transformations taking place throughout the globe. We view that these numerous and various transformations enable to alter unjust practices and power structures in a more sustainable and context-specific way. Importantly, such a new narrative highlights, rather than suppresses, the potentiality residing in non-Western ways of relating to and living in the earth.
More specifically, the book will focus on reimagining the Anthropocene through the concepts of ethics and politics, and will do so by emphasizing the question of space. This is because many of the problems of the Anthropocene revolve around the question of how space between the human sphere and the rest of the world is, or is not, shared – an ethical and political question in itself. The Anthropocene also profoundly challenges the temporal and spatial horizons of ethical actions, and arouses novel ethical concerns related to the representation of spaces. Indeed, the ontologies of space radically affect the episteme through which the human-earth relations are understood, challenging the conventional norms for coexistence. The Anthropocene also invites to reassess the often Eurocentric and rationalistic assumptions inscribed in ethical theories and to explore conceptual and practical links between ethics and politics. Furthermore, the changes occurring in the Earth, and in technology and medicine, open up novel ethical questions, relevant for many fields from law to social sciences and humanities. The colloquium therefore seeks to consider the scope of ethical and political analyses in a broad sense so as to better to capture the complex and novel nature of on-going transformations.
The conference papers from the 2nd Peaceful Coexistence Colloquium will be considered for publication in a book with the preliminary title as above within the Routledge ‘Transnational Law and Governance’ -series (edited by Paolo Farah).
More information on the deadlines will be provided in the conference.
OTHER RELATED PROJECTS
CALL FOR BOOK CHAPTERS
Strongly Sustainable Societies: Organising Human Activities on a Hot and Full Earth
The Earth is getting hotter and fuller. With mounting evidence, climate
scientists record and forecast global temperature rises, while
biologists and palaeontologists present signs of a mass extinction of
species. The full Earth thus refers to a human-dominated state of
affairs (see Daly, 2005), as the ‘end of nature’ was already proclaimed a
generation ago (McKibben, 1989). These two radical circumstances for
life on Earth are closely linked. Human activity driven by
industrialisation and the global rich, but also more generally promoted
by our numbers, systems and priorities, have destroyed natural habitats,
changed ecosystems, marginalized traditional cultures and eliminated or
domesticated non-human populations.
The international community’s responses to the socio-ecological problems
that took off in the 20th century have been framed around the concept
of ‘sustainable development’. The ecological pressure from human
societies, however, has continued to rise since the Brundtland report
(WCED, 1987), and the anthropocentric sustainability discourse has
proven to be problematic (Purser et al., 1995; McShane, 2007). At the
core of the conventional sustainability agenda is an instrumental view
of the non-human world, empirically unfounded ideas of technological
salvation, and the premise of ‘substitutability’ between human and
natural capitals (e.g. Bonnedahl and Eriksson, 2007; Heikkurinen and
Bonnedahl, 2013). This current trajectory of ‘progress’ is problematic
not only as it reproduces inequalities and jeopardises future wellbeing
of humans but also from an ecocentric perspective, which sees non-humans
as intrinsically valuable (see Heikkurinen, 2017).
This is a call for authors that wish to present alternatives and
challenge today’s unsustainable societies. We welcome manuscripts that
investigate and advance pathways for humanity that are realistic in the
ecological sense, ethical in an inclusive manner, and wise in terms of
comprehension of the task’s magnitude and urgency.
We therefore highly appreciate proposals that confront the traditional
anthropocentric ethos and ontology, mainstream economic growth-dogma,
programmes of ecological modernism, and assumptions of weak
sustainability. We invite manuscripts on different levels of analysis,
from the individual to the biosphere, as well as both conceptual and
empirical contributions. Papers can address the economic or financial
system, certain discourses or practices, changes in key sectors, delve
into alternative lifestyles or into experiences of local and native
societies. Authors may also examine the human–nature or inter-species
relations or deal with question of needs, wealth and intra- or
intergenerational justice. In the task of imagining the required modes
for organising human activity in societies, the common thread that will
run through the chapters is the premise of strong sustainability (see
e.g. Holland, 1997; Neumayer, 2002).
The submitted chapters will be considered for publication in a book with
the preliminary title as above within the Routledge-Earthscan
Environment and Sustainability portfolio.
If you have any questions related to the book, please contact us. Send
your abstract of 500-1000 words by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com by the 30th of January 2017. The final chapter
manuscript is limited to 10,000 words and will be due on the 1st of June
Editors: Karl Johan Bonnedahl (Umeå University, Sweden) and Pasi Heikkurinen (University of Leeds, UK)
Bonnedahl, K. J., & Eriksson, J. (2007) Sustainable economic
organisation: simply a matter of reconceptualisation or a need for a new
ethics?. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable
Development, 2(1): 97-115.
Goodland, R., & Daly, H. (1996) Environmental sustainability:
universal and non-negotiable. Ecological Applications, 6(4): 1002-1017.
Daly, H. E. (2005) Economics in a Full World. Scientific American, 293(3): 100-107.
Heikkurinen, P. (ed.) (2017) Sustainability and Peaceful Coexistence for the Anthropocene. Routledge: New York and London.
Heikkurinen, P., & Bonnedahl, K. J. (2013) Corporate responsibility
for sustainable development: a review and conceptual comparison of
market- and stakeholder-oriented strategies. Journal of Cleaner
Production, 43: 191-198.
Holland, A. (1997) Substitutability: Or, why strong sustainability is
weak and aburdly strong sustainability is not absurd. In: Foster, J.
(ed.), Valuing Nature? Ethics, Economics and the Environment, p.
119–134. Routledge: London.
McKibben, B. (1989) The End of Nature. Anchor: New York.
McShane, K. (2007) Anthropocentrism vs. nonanthropocentrism: Why should we care?. Environmental Values, 16(2), 169-186.
Purser, R. E., Park, C., & Montuori, A. (1995) Limits to
anthropocentrism: Toward an ecocentric organization paradigm?. Academy
of Management Review, 20(4): 1053-1089.
Neumayer, E. (2002) Weak versus Strong Sustainability: Exploring the
Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms. Edward Edgar Publishing: London.
WCED (1987) Our Common Future. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. United Nations: New York.