The multiple anthropocenes: Toward fracturing a totalizing discourse

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In recent years, a new management philosophy revolving around ideas of the "post-natural" and "post-wild" has gained currency in environmental thinking. This discourse often employs the term The Anthropocene to capture the idea of a whole new era of thought and management philosophy. A look at the differences between what might be called the "terrestrial," the "atmospheric," and the "marine" Anthropocenes suggests that, despite the buzz carried by the term, this discourse is more fractured than it initially appears. In place of a totalizing Anthropocene discourse, there should be - at the very least - a more careful discourse of multiple Anthropocenes. Attention should also be paid to the disregard for common language use that a totalizing Anthropocene discourse tends to engender. The concepts of both "nature" and "the wild" are still very much alive, as evidenced in part by the growing prominence of rewilding efforts in Europe. Traditional ideas of nature and the wild likely have important roles to play, even in an era of significant anthropogenic change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-320
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


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