ONLINE Darrel Moellendorf: The Anthropocene: A Realistic Utopia.

​Do 06/05/2021



Homo Sapiens survive by altering their environment. However, it was natural climatic alterations that characterized the Holocene epoch that allowed Homo Sapiens to settle into agriculture communities and not only to survive but eventually to thrive, producing great civilizations around the world. Progress in culture, science, and technology ensued. The Industrial Revolution ushered in unrivaled prosperity, evidence by various measures, and not only in today’s industrial societies. Social and economic theorists foresaw the possibility of generalized prosperity. But massive impact on Earth systems was a side-effect of these developments. Increasingly now in the natural sciences, this impact is recognized as responsible for a new epoch, the Anthropocene. The disruptive character of the impact on Earth systems threatens not only the gains of the Industrial Revolution, but also the stability of planetary systems that have made human flourishing in the Holocene possible. The result could be a world even more divided between rich and poor. Indeed, there is the possibility of vast regions of the planet consigned by disrupted planetary systems to misery, and contained by the global rich so as not to threaten their own prosperity. Because this would be a world of human-made misery and injustice, I refer to it as “the Misanthropocene.” Avoiding the the Misanthropocene is one of the biggest challenges of our era. In order to motivate that effort positive visions can provide the basis of hope. Employing a phrase from John Ralws, I call these visions “Realistic Utopias.” I explore the merits of two such Realistic Utopias, the Arcadian and the Promethean Anthropocene.

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