Thursday, 27 December 2018

Failing at a triple-point, the ‘Anthropocene proposal’?


The ‘Anthropocene proposal’ is about amending the Geological Time Scale namely, to introduce a new epoch, the ‘Anthropocene’. This essay [*] starts at a triple-point: global anthropogenic change happens, scientific methodological rigour applies, and “the Anthropocene for the first time gave birth to a universal ‘Anthropos’” (Hamilton, 2017, p.118). Additionally, it is assumed that ‘Anthropocene proposal’ is rejected (Rull, 2018) because it does not match the methodological rigour of the Geological Time Scale; what would unlock an ethical dilemma that then has to be tackled. 

To set off; the vigour of the debates about ‘Anthropocene proposal’ indicates a profound. Its essence, whether we witness emerging “a kind of hybrid Earth, of nature injected with human will, however responsibly or irresponsibly that will may have been exercised” (Hamilton & Grinevald, 2015, p.68). Hence, the debates about the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ are about the ‘human condition’ how contemporary people live, collectively. 

What are the nuts and bolts?

Societal context

During its prehistoric and historical times already, humankind modified natural environments to appropriate resources for living and wellbeing (Zalasiewicz, Waters, Summerhayes, & Williams, 2018). Contemporary societies abundantly apply geosciences for their economic activities that bind through global supply chains the entire globe into one system (Bohle, 2017). Crafts-person, technicians, architects, and engineers implicitly apply geoscience knowledge when altering natural environments or creating artefacts, e.g. extraction of minerals, the laying the foundations for buildings, or managing floodplains. Large-scale infrastructures like shore defences, hydropower plants or urban dwellings visibly interact with the geosphere and without profound geoscience knowledge could not have been built. Finally, global production systems or consumption patterns couple human activity with the geosphere at a planetary scale through cycles of matter, energy and information. 
Since some decades, humankind's activity intersects the geosphere in a much ampler manner than ever before, either directly or intermediated through the biosphere (Barnosky et al., 2012). During the last century, the number of people on Earth and mostly the patterns of affluent consumption of resources culminated in a global, societal endeavour of anthropogenic change. When considering this outcome from a philosophical point of view, then the resulting global anthropogenic change is intended. It is driven by the ‘Anthropos’ applying hegemonic value system(s); for the good, the bad and the ugly (Dalby, 2015); or the inescapable (Dryzek, 2016). 
Hence, anthropogenic change is about how people who, given their value systems, cultural choices and lifestyles, govern the appropriation of biotic and abiotic resources from the natural environments. The technological means, the scientific understanding and the economic resources confine which ‘endeavours of anthropogenic change’ are possible. Within the corpus of scientific understanding, geosciences are instrumental in how effective and efficient the change is. Subsequently, geoscientists are co-architects of the current times of global anthropogenic change. Recognising this ‘engagement’ and assuming the related responsibility is necessary (Jonas, 1984). Subsequently, it is not innocent how geoscientists use their expertise, including what to do with the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ that is made by some of their peers.
When considering global anthropogenic change in its societal context, then geosciences concerns any human being because s/he interacts with the Earth system. This ‘any human being’ needs insights or orientations to understand the functioning of the geosphere. The ‘Anthropocene proposal’ would summarise such insights and, subsequently, orientations about planetary boundaries would inform about the ‘do and do not’ that any responsible person should find helpful to have (Steffen et al., 2015). Hence, the importance that geoscientists, including the geologists, handle the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ in an ethically sound manner.

Ethical context

Science and research are a service to society (Bernal, 1939) and responsible science is a public good (Murphy et al. 2015). Hence, any undertaking of science and research is value laden (Douglas, 2009). Like many other science communities, the geosciences communities recently have strengthened their professional ethical frameworks (Di Capua, Peppoloni, & Bobrowsky, 2017). 
During the last decade, the field of geoethics gained visibility within geosciences as an agent-centric virtue-ethics, as the ‘Cape Town Statement on Geoethics’ outlines: “It is essential to enrich the roles and responsibilities of geoscientists towards communities and the environments in which they dwell, … Human communities will face great environmental challenges in the future. Geoscientists have know-how that is essential to orientate societies towards more sustainable practices in our conscious interactions with the Earth system. Applying a wider knowledge-base than natural sciences, geoscientists need to take multidisciplinary approaches to economic and environmental problems, embracing (geo)ethical and social perspectives. Geoscientists are primarily at the service of society. This is the deeper purpose of their activity.” (Di Capua et al., 2017). To render these ideas operational a ‘geoethical promise’ has been formulated (Matteucci et al., 2014).

The ‘Anthropocene Proposal’ seen through the ‘Geoethical Promise’

The ‘geoethical promise’ (Matteucci et al., 2014) offers geologists, and beyond (Bohle & Ellis, 2017), a framework to analyse the ethical implications of options in a professional context. In this sense, the nine statements of ‘Geoethical Promise’ also inform how to appreciate the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ (see table): 


Statements made in the ‚Geoethical Promise.’

...when applied to ‚Anthropocene proposal'

       I.                           … I will practice geosciences being fully aware of the societal implications, and I will do my best for the protection of the Earth system for the benefit of humankind.
…then these statements can be interpreted as calling to make people aware of the ongoing global anthropogenic global change giving this awareness top priority. Naming the present times ‘Anthropocene’ would rise awareness to favour sustainable development.

     II.            … I understand my responsibilities towards society, future generations and the Earth for sustainable development.

    III.            … I will put the interest of society foremost in my work.


    IV.            … I will never misuse my geoscience knowledge, resisting constraint or coercion.
...then these statements call to be non-compromising vis-a-vis third party requests regarding the application of geoscience knowledge and methodology.


     V.            … I will always be ready to provide my professional assistance when needed, and I will be impartial in making my expertise available to decision makers.

   VI.            … I will continue lifelong development of my geoscientific knowledge.


   VII.            … I will always maintain intellectual honesty in my work, being aware of the limits of my competencies and skills.
…then this statement calls for truthfulness in applying geoscience knowledge and methodology

 VIII.            … I will act to foster progress in the geosciences, the sharing of geoscientific knowledge, and the dissemination of the geoethical approach.

    IX.            … I will always be fully respectful of Earth processes in my work as a geoscientist.

  • The statements I, II and III of the ‘geoethical promise’ emphasize the societal responsibility of the geoscientists. Global anthropogenic change happens and threatens future living conditions of people. Therefore, people including individual and collective human agents with power to decide should be made aware of this threat. Naming the present geological times ‘Anthropocene’ would be an explicit message telling them about the size and nature of the ongoing change that they drive. 
  • Furthering the analysis; the statements VI, VIII and IX of ‘geoethical promise’ do not offer any insight on how to appreciate the ‘Anthropocene proposal’. 
  • In turn, the statements IV, V and VII imply, from various angles, are a reflection about scientific methods that applies to the ‘Anthropocene proposal’. To put it simply, these statements call for methodological rigour that does not compromise to (societal) pressures. Therefore, given these three statements the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ should not be looked upon favourably if it does not fit to the scientific methodology how to design the Geological Time Scale. 
Thus, the ‘geoethical promise’ does not give guidance regarding whether to accept or to reject the ‘Anthropocene proposal’, although it offers an approach how to take a decision. 
The debates within geoscience communities about the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ are about methods how to determine in a rigorous manner the Geological Time Scale. In case that the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ will be rejected an ethical dilemma will arise. In this circumstance two considerations are pitched against each other. On one side, the rigour of the scientific method, which is an important cultural value that needed centuries to establish. On the other side, the requirement to use scientific findings to improve how the human societies functions, which is the final cultural value ‘why to do science’. 
This geoethical dilemma needs to be handled. Non-action is not a valid option. Given the societal responsibility that the geoscientists have they must assume to inform the society about the nature of present times. What to do, if the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ is methodically flawed when seen from the perspective of the Geological Time Scale?

A Remedy for the Anthropocene?

What to do? The eleventh thesis about Feuerbach [Marx, 1835]: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world …; the point is to change it,” offers an inspiration. 
The Geological Time Scale (International Chronostratigraphic Chart) is an interpretation of the stratigraphic record. It describes the past, the geological history. Properly naming the current times of global anthropogenic change is a matter of the present, of contemporary history. To acknowledge this categorical difference, that is, considering the past and the present in a different manner, the Geological Time Scale would benefit from an end-date. 
Amending the Geological Time Scale by an end-date, set by those who have the competence and authority to do it, would circumvent the ethical dilemma pitching values against each other. Instead, such a proposal would give geoscientists the opportunity to size the responsibility that imperatively (Jonas, 1984) follows from their scientific insights into the ongoing global anthropogenic change. Subsequently and elegantly, the ‘Anthropocene proposal’ could be made with all scientific rigour that it needs because of its societal relevance, although without compromising the methodological rigour that underpins the settings in Geological Time Scale. 
To be practical, an end-date, for example, could be the peak of the Plutonium fallout (from the nuclear essays in the atmosphere). Some had proposed this features as a marker of the onset of the Anthropocene (Zalasiewicz et al., 2017) now it may serve as marker of the end of the geological past, including the end of the Holocene. The resulting messages, from the geoscience community, would be unequivocal.

[*] This post builds on a working paper (DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10735.28325) that, in turn is prepared in view of a contribution to a special issue of the journal Quaternary.

Barnosky, A. D., Hadly, E. A., Bascompte, J., Berlow, E. L., Brown, J. H., Fortelius, M., … Smith, A. B. (2012). Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere. Nature, 486(7401), 52–58.
Bernal, J. D. (1939). The Social Function of Science. London: Georg Routledge & Sons Ltd.
Bohle, M. (2017). Ideal-Type Narratives for Engineering a Human Niche. Geosciences, 7(1), 18.
Bohle, M., & Ellis, E. (2017). Furthering Ethical Requirements for Applied Earth Science. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).
Dalby, S. (2015). Framing the Anthropocene: The good, the bad and the ugly. The Anthropocene Review, 3(1), 1–19.
Di Capua, G., Peppoloni, S., & Bobrowsky, P. (2017). The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics. Annals of Geophysics, 60(0), 1–6.
Douglas, H. E. (2009). Science, policy, and the value-free ideal. London: Sage Publications. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Dryzek, J. S. (2016). Earth System Governance: World Politics in the Anthropocene. By Frank Biermann. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014. 260p. Perspectives on Politics, 14(01), 176–178.
Hamilton, C. (2017). Defiant Earth - The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene. Cambridge: Wiley, Polity Press.
Hamilton, C., & Grinevald, J. (2015). Was the Anthropocene anticipated? The Anthropocene Review, 2(1), 59–72.
Jonas, H. (1984). The Imperative of Responsibility. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Matteucci, R., Gosso, G., Peppoloni, S., Piacente, S., Wasowski, J., Matteucci, R., … Wasowski, J. (2014). The “ Geoethical Promise ”: A Proposal. Italian Federation of Earth Sciences, 37(3), 190–191.
Murphy, C., Gardoni, P., Bashir, H., Harris, C. E., & Masad, E. (2015). Engineering Ethics for a Globalized World. (E. Murphy, C., Gardoni, P., Bashir, H., Harris, C. E., & Masad, Ed.) (Vol. 22). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Rull, V. (2018). What If the ‘Anthropocene’ Is Not Formalized as a New Geological Series/Epoch? Quaternary, 1(3), 24.
Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., Cornell, S. E., Fetzer, I., Bennett, E. M., … Sorlin, S. (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223), 1259855–1259855.
Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., Summerhayes, C. P., Wolfe, A. P., Barnosky, A. D., Cearreta, A., … Williams, M. (2017). The Working Group on the Anthropocene: Summary of evidence and interim recommendations. Anthropocene, 19, 55–60.
Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C., Summerhayes, C., & Williams, M. (2018). The Anthropocene. Geology Today, 34(5), 177–181.

Geoethics @EGU2019

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Wrangel Island, No & Seabed, Yes: ?

Seabed mining is an emerging industrial activity (Kyoda 2017, Economist [1]). It is at the margin of commercial exploitation (Tasof 2017, Hoyt et al. 2017, World Bank [2]). A nascent regulatory framework is prepared by the International Seabed Authority applying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Against this background, this essay describes some generic features of seabed mining. It will address neither specific technological choices nor the environmental conditions at a given mining site. Mining at the seabed has challenging societal, technical and environmental features. Therefore, the question, what advice offer best practices for terrestrial mining sites, drives the thread of my thoughts [3].

In qualifying terms, seabed mining entails operating remotely controlled technology in a sensitive environment that is difficult to monitor and inaccessible (Van Dover 2011, Sharma 2015, Lallier and Maes 2016, Campbell et al. 2016, Brown 2017, Aleynek et al. 2017, Durden et al. 2018). When analysing the societal activity 'seabed mining' regarding system features then it comes likely that it will show systemic ‘wicked behaviours’ of its natural, technological and governance sub-systems (Kowarsch et al. 2016, Alford and Head 2017). To establish sound technical, operational and regulatory specifications for seabed mining, that is to set up its system governance, is challenging, even without systemic ‘wicked behaviours'. To illustrate the challenge, best practices for operating a terrestrial mining site may offer guidance such as ‘a practice that is not acceptable for a terrestrial mining site is neither acceptable for a marine mining site’.

To imagine a lively scenario, one may consider an open-pit mine in the high Arctic, for example at the Wrangel Island, as follows: - to operate at the surface in harsh environment that is difficult to monitor; - to operate a remote place that temporarily gets inaccessible; - to use new technology with high capability of autonomous operations; - to undertake human intervention only through remote control; and - to apply a recently developed regulatory framework. 

I wonder, whether under such circumstances mining the Wrangel Island would happen, at all. Consequently, what about mining at the seabed, now? 

However, when going to mine the Wrangel Island responsibly, then best mining practices would consider the lifetime of the mine, from exploration through the operation to closure as well as treats the societal contexts of mining (Nurmi 2017). Furthermore, such best practices, often called 'responsible mining', also advocate a participatory approach to regulation, governance and operational decision making. Such practices often are labelled as 'social licence to operate' (Boutlier 2014, Moffat and Zang 2014, Buhmann 2016, Falk 2016, Filer and Gabriel 2017). 

Thus, best terrestrial mining practices take governance issues and governability into primary focus. 

As learned elsewhere (Hämäläinen 2015, Head and Xiang 2016, Termeer et al. 2016), participatory approaches are an essential means to maintain governability capabilities in spite of systemic wicked behaviours. Such capabilities include adaptive, deliberative and participatory practices, reflexivity and variety of frames, resilience to uncertainties, responsiveness and capability to observe, revitalisation to unblock unproductive patterns, rescaling as well as cross-scale interactions. The governance system in place for regulating and surveillance of mining sites at the seabed, that is, the International Seabed Authority and national regulators for the Exclusive Economic Zone, likely will be unable to handle systemic wicked behaviour. Their design did not have this purpose in mind. Consequently, practices of 'social licence to operate' could help governing seabed mining appropriately. However, such methods are not straight forward as Filer and Gabriel (2017) discuss given the SOLWARA mining site off Papua New Guinea that is licensed to Nautilus Minerals Ltd.

In the absence of better approaches, robust participatory system governance of seabed mining would address differences in value systems, insights into different interests, and sharing of available knowledge among stakeholders as well it could offer the capacity building for third parties, an involvement of civil society and operational security for commercial and regulatory parties. Finally, a process of a 'social licence to operate' involving a wide range of stakeholders would allow to pick up the first paradigm that resources at the sea bottom are part of the common heritage of humankind (van Doorn 2016, Jaeckle et al. 2017). Hence, installing an ethics-based approach of ‘responsible seabed mining' could be part of comprehensive system governance for ‘blue growth' and ‘sustainable development'.

[1] Economist 2018, Race to the Bottom; [2] World Bank 2016, Precautionary Management of Deep Sea Mining Potential in Pacific Island Countries; [3] Martin Bohle 2018, Responsible mining at the Wrangel Island and the Seabed


Hoyt, S. P., H, P. L., Thebaud, O., & Van Dover, C. L. (2017). Addressing the Financial Consequences of Unknown Environmental Impacts in Deep-Sea Mining. Annales Des Mines - Responsabilité et Environnement, 1(85), 43–48. Retrieved from

Jaeckel, A., Gjerde, K. M., & Ardron, J. A. (2017). Conserving the common heritage of humankind - Options for the deep-seabed mining regime. Marine Policy, 78(January), 150–157.

Kyoda. (2017). Japan successfully undertakes large-scale deep-sea mineral extraction. Retrieved from

Tasoff, H. (2017). The Wild West of deep-Sea Mining. Kakai Magazine. Retrieved from

van Doorn, E. (2016). Environmental aspects of the Mining code: Preserving humankind’s common heritage while opening Pardo’s box? Marine Policy, 70, 192–197.

Van Dover, C. L. (2011). Tighten regulations on deep-sea mining. Nature, 470(7332), 31–33.

Other literature sources used to write the blog:
Aleynik, D., Inall, M. E., Dale, A., & Vink, A. (2017). Impact of remotely generated eddies on plume dispersion at abyssal mining sites in the Pacific. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 16959.
Alford, J., & Head, B. W. (2017). Wicked and less wicked problems: a typology and a contingency framework. Policy and Society, 36(3), 397–413.
Boutilier, R. G. (2014). Frequently asked questions about the social licence to operate. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 32(4), 263–272.
Brown, C. L. (2017). Deep sea mining and robotics: Assessing legal, societal and ethical implications. In 2017 IEEE Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts (ARSO) (pp. 1–2). IEEE.
Buhmann, K. (2016). Public Regulators and CSR: The “Social Licence to Operate” in Recent United Nations Instruments on Business and Human Rights and the Juridification of CSR. Journal of Business Ethics, 136(4), 699–714.
Campbell, L. M., Gray, N. J., Fairbanks, L., Silver, J. J., Gruby, R. L., Dubik, B. A., & Basurto, X. (2016). Global Oceans Governance: New and Emerging Issues. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 41(1), 517–543.
Durden, J. M., Jones, D. O. B., Murphy, K., Jaeckel, A., Van Dover, C. L., Christiansen, S., … Durden, J. M. (2017). A procedural framework for robust environmental management of deep-sea mining projects using a conceptual model. Marine Policy, 84(August), 193–201.
Falck, W. E. (2016). Social licencing in mining—between ethical dilemmas and economic risk management. Mineral Economics, 29(2–3), 97–104.
Filer, C., & Gabriel, J. (2017). How could Nautilus Minerals get a social licence to operate the world’s first deep sea mine? Marine Policy, (October), 1–7.
Hämäläinen, T. J. (2015). Governance Solutions for Wicked Problems: Metropolitan Innovation Ecosystems as Frontrunners to Sustainable Well-Being. Technology Innovation Management Review, 5(10), 31–41. Retrieved fromämäläinen_TIMReview_October2015.pdf
Head, B. W., & Xiang, W.-N. (2016). Why is an APT approach to wicked problems important? Landscape and Urban Planning, 154, 4–7.
Kowarsch, M., Garard, J., Riousset, P., Lenzi, D., Dorsch, M. J., Knopf, B., … Edenhofer, O. (2016). Scientific assessments to facilitate deliberative policy learning. Palgrave Communications, 2, 16092.
Lallier, L. E., & Maes, F. (2016). Environmental impact assessment procedure for deep seabed mining in the area: Independent expert review and public participation. Marine Policy, 70, 212–219.
Moffat, K., & Zhang, A. (2014). The paths to social licence to operate: An integrative model explaining community acceptance of mining. Resources Policy, 39(1), 61–70.
Nurmi, P. A. (2017). Green Mining - A Holistic Concept for Sustainable and Acceptable Mineral Production. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).
Sharma, R. (2015). Environmental Issues of Deep-Sea Mining. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 11, 204–211.
Termeer, C. J. A. M., Dewulf, A., Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S. I., Vink, M., & van Vliet, M. (2016). Coping with the wicked problem of climate adaptation across scales: The Five R Governance Capabilities. Landscape and Urban Planning, 154, 11–19.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The smile of... 'The Imaginator'

New complexities, irritating disruptions of trusted practices, and accelerating change seem to characterise our times. Uncertainty about the future is acknowledged by many. The rate of change is unmeasured; hence it is felt. Curiously, artists, intellectuals and laypersons, each seem self-de-rooted.

Hence, what is 'The New' that is up to us, in a world of somehow self-driving cars, subsistence fishermen and first climate refugees? Our views focus' on the next corner, the next turn of a road. Where are the signposts? Who has a sketch of the roads ahead? Does vision lack? What marks the debates? The technology-fascinated disagree. Yet, their vision is just 'scale-up', massively to reach a singularity. Does this change in quantity leads to new quality? Hence, is Mr Hegel calling?

Questions to the participants at #SGSCULTURE #593:
What will our planet look like in 2050 or 2100?
Who or what will control our lives?
What will it mean to be human?

Let's drop the big stone, the rock, the landslide into the deep water, and observe the waves. What to envision for the years 2050 to 2100, times when my children and grandchildren will be getting old, respectively?

Ten statements are offered here. Each implies a considerable alteration of the present state of people's dealings; some deem clear-cut some are underlying. How would artists, designers and culture-activists anchor them in emerging trends? What seeds they could plant to give them lives.

  1. People overcame the multiple societal-environmental emergencies of the 2030-ties; then life-expectancy had stalled globally. During this crisis, luckily the use of arms of mass destruction got hindered; although some 'conventional warfare' occurred.
  2. By 2050, collaborative Earth System Governance has emerged and the life-expectancy (number of healthy years) of people started to increase again.
  3. In most regions, the species extinction rates got capped. The deterioration of the vital global ecosystems has halted.
  4. In 2100, the global human population has stabilised at little less than 11 Billion people; slow decline seems possible now. Open societies have led to about equal levels of development in all urbanised regions.
  5. Networks and circular supply-chains enforce participatory handling of societal-environmental problems including large-scale migration of people.
  6. Joint efforts are ongoing to relocate people from the ocean shorelines (and some other now uninhabitable zones); 'managed human retreat' because of sea-level rise and 'rebuilding of (coastal) urban areas' is a global policy.
  7. The rate of change of societal-environmental systems has been capped, and the diversity of the 'human niche' is made a 'species goal'.
  8. Most production systems use processes that are derived from synthetic biology with embedded quantum-technologies.
  9. Since 2050, emotions emerged spontaneously in complex information systems, and since then they consolidated into stable societal features. Since then, such 'feeling systems' and the various (collective and individual) 'people-tool systems' got a dedicated legal status in most countries.
  10. Our outpost on Moon and Mars may be reopened soon after the burial of the bodies of the early colonists on Earth.

Such a new may stretch our imagination to the breaking point. Hence, Irritation! That's the purpose. The eyes stay shut, facing 'The New', listening to the orange clockwork.

For many of our fellow citizens, 'The Future', with capital "F", is the march towards "About-the-Same". It may be a bit more of the same. For most people, The Future is nothing that is 'made'. It is something to be endured. And, disasters or war deem ready to disrupt its regular gait. It is this aeon-old view, "Nihil sub sole novum" (nothing new under the sun) that for many provides a sense of security. Astonishingly, 'The Future' is a reference frame. It embeds our myopic starring at the next turn of events. Yet, what to do when this reference frame seems to change, to wobble and, hence gets uncertain. Then, menacingly, 'The Unknown' frames the stages of our plays. Irritatingly, 'The Counter-Intuitive' seems to consolidate out of our plays. Threateningly, they block the way back. The horsemen of the modern apocalypse, 'The New', 'The Unknown', and 'The Counter-Intuitive' threat with insecurity, loss of competences, altered divisions of societies, and lost sense!

Some people relish the 'The New', 'The Unknown', and 'The Counter-Intuitive'. Artists, Explorers, Scientists feel a deep sensual pleasure when confronting them, as a person and as citizens. The artist's psyche, the explorer's spirits, the innovator's minds, the researcher's souls are resources vibrating with imagination and passion. Hence, nutured by them the citizenries may confront Quantum-Technology, Earth System Sciences, Artificial Intelligences, and Synthetic Biology. Then the citizenries will draft the new 'guides to these galaxies'. They will tell, whether '42' is still the right answer, why your towel might be sufficient, and who moved the restaurant(s) at the end of the universe(s)? [**]

Only as citizens, the artists, cultural practitioners, inventors and scientists can push the boundaries of the human imagination. As citizens, jointly they may move beyond the familiar and transcend the borders towards the future. But, are they ready to assume this task? Do they invest collaboratively in path-changing discoveries, different fates of our planet, and charting pathways to liveable futures? Only then, 'The New', 'The Unknown', and 'The Counter-Intuitive' will face the broad, vigorous smile of 'The Imaginator' - Surrender!

[*] This post is the second 'modulation' of the scene setter for the Salzburg Global Seminar #593 "The shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future" (Salzburg, 20-25 February 2018). This text was drafted after the seminar during my travel home. The first 'modulation' of the scene setter had been published as the post “The New, The Unknown, and The Counter-Intuitive” before the seminar. Hence, borrowing a notion from music, these posts may be seen as a prose-variations of the theme of the seminar.

[**] See plots in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The New, The Unknown and The Counter-Intuitive

#SGSCULTURE @SalzburgGlobal 
What will our planet look like in 2050 or 2100? 
Who or what will control our lives? 
What will it mean to be human?
In times characterised by complexity, disruption and unprecedented speed of change, uncertainty about the future is staring us in the face; with a bold smile displaying its teeth. It is 'The New' looking at us!. 

'The New', our big, common, they-did-it Future stretches our imagination; possibly, to the breaking point.  Irritation! They! We!

In past times, and for many people still today, Future, with capital "F", was the march towards "About-the-Same". Natural disasters and war may disrupt its gentle pace. The Future did not seem to be something 'new & made'; expectations and plans belong to the private sphere, the 'little future'. Instead, 'the Future' is something to be endured when things turn out badly. Otherwise 'the Future' was perceived as a known reference frame for embedding the 'little futures'. Yet, what to do when this frame changes, wobbles and gets uncertain? Disaster looms! 

Through aeons, a 'little new' percolated slowly into the societies, once a while. It came in tiny drips of innovation, in small numbers of new things, and was made by some strange people, only.   Daily practice and experiences gently chewed the 'little new', and persecuting the innovator did the rest, when needed. Hence, neither the size of the 'little new' nor its approach velocity could challenge the status quo. During the 20th Century, this century-lasting pattern got modulated. The collective experiences of people wobbled. The aeon-old common experience of the "Nihil sub sole novum" (nothing new under the sun) faded. The 'culture of growth' [1], which had matured in Europe since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, had broken into the daily drain-drain of people. Initially, it offered just "more of About-the-Same" [2]. Now, after the turn of the 20th Century, even this quite modern pattern of experiences is going out of the picture [3].  'The Unknown' comes on the stage. Even worth, it consolidates on stage irritatingly emerging from within our ongoing plays. The size of change to come and its velocity of approach challenge the conventional actors, profoundly. 

Only some people relish 'The Unknown'. The art-of-the-new-Possible, with capital "P" gives 'The Unknown' a deep sensual pleasure.  For many, however, 'The Unknown' means insecurity, loss of competences, altered divisions of societies, lost sense! Uncertainty makes it so much harder to embrace the own future with a little self-confidence.
meaning and excitement to their lives.  When facing it then the explorer's spirits, the innovator's minds, or the researcher's souls vibrate with passion. Giving sense to their lives.

The shock of change can paralyse rather than energise. Making sense of 'The Unknown' lying ahead, looming around will become ever more demanding. Science reaches further out, deep into 'The Counter-Intuitive'; as Quantum-Technology, Earth System Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology and Big Data will transform daily life. Where are the 'guides to these galaxies?' Is '42' still the right answer? Will my  towel be sufficient? Who moved the restaurant(s) at the end of the universe(s)? [**]

Artists, cultural practitioners, inventors and scientists push the boundaries of the human imagination. Together they facilitate the making of 'The New'. Jointly they move beyond the familiar and transcend the borders towards the future. To be curious about what is new and emergent that is part of their lives. Driven by their imagination, they invest collaboratively into path-changing discoveries, different fates of our planet, and charting pathways to liveable futures! 'The New', 'The Unknown', and 'The Counter-Intuitive', they all face this broad, vigorous smile of 'The Imaginator': Surrender!

[*] This post is 'modulating' the scene setter for the Salzburg Global Seminar #593 (20-25 February 2018). Borrowing a notion from music: this post may be seen as a variation of the theme of the seminar #593, "The shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future." Due to this drafting process the text contains unmarked sections that are copied from the description of the seminar. The reader is invited to compare the variations and the original tune. 

[**] The questions refer to different plots in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

[1] Mokyr, J. (2016). A Culture of Growth - The Origins of the Modern Economy. Princton: Princton University Press.

[2] Sachs, W. (1990). On the Archaeology of the Development Idea. Interculture 23(4):1-37.

[3] Ellis, E.C: (2013). Used Planet: A global history. PNAS 110(20):7978-7985.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A hybrid Earth - Art, Culture & Engineers

How to handle the shock of the new? 
How do arts, technology and making sense of the future link?
Four line of thoughts #SGSCULTURE, @SalzburgGlobal.

The author at Senaatintori
 Helsinki (Finland)
Nowadays, people are altering the Earth at an accelerating pace. A new, disrupted world is in the making; research & supply-chains ahead, politics lagging behind.
Since aeons, people have built on Earth their 'sociocultural-ecological niche' through purposefully engineering their environments to sustain their existence and reproduction. Starting from the fringes, in deep time, now human activity substantially shapes the dynamics of Earth. People's activities mark the globe at least since the industrial revolution. Taking this perspective I like to argue that, since the onset of agriculture in the Neolithic age, 'design and engineering' has been an all-purpose cultural activity of people to shape their 'sociocultural-ecological niches' to maintain their well-being, mutual care, and reproduction.

Tell the people, they are marvellous niche-builders!

What people like to happen, what they fear and what they cherish, that is at the core of their cultures. It gets pictured in their visual arts and other means to express feeling, perceiving and sense-making. Hence, culture and arts describes the sociocultural-ecological niches of our species, in history, today and as vision of the future.

The history of altering Earth exhibit complex social and cultural processes. For example, Denevan [1992, 2011] illustrates what happened in the Americas, Purdy [2015] describes the USA, Fressoz [2012] studies France, and Chew and Sarabia [2016] or Kowarsch [2016] describe an extended historical period or the philosophical context, respectively.

Sculpture "Emiigrants on Fish" - Carl Milles,
Milles Garden - Stockholm (Sweden)

People are marvellously ingenious, also when altering the Earth. To that end they deploy three dominant traits of our species. First, all people - even the artists - seem to be engineers or designer who are determined to carve out a sociocultural-ecological niche from Earth. Second, people 'consist of abstract information, including the distinctive ideas, theories, intentions, feelings and other states of mind that characterize' them and shapes their thoughtful insights [Deutsch, 2011, p.130]. Third, whatever people engineer (or design) that they do conceive through mutual sharing of insights into sense-making. Hence, humankind's multiple cultures inevitably lead to various 'particularly engineered systems for producing, distributing and consuming goods and services'. In making these systems, people face choices and constraints; that may take physical or mental form. 

The individual and collective responses to the global and self-inflicted altering of Earth are various. They may be visionary, confident, or concerned. However, they also include 'cognitive dissonance', or manifest as doomsday scenarios and denial of change. Addressing people's concerns appropriately through action, including politics, require shaping public and individual discourses. Discourse is a prerequisite for handling 'weird(ing) power relations enlivened by times of radical uncertainty' [Sweeney, 2014, p. 10], hence, doing politics. The discourse should be non-technical, non-expert. Rather, they must relate to people's preferences and world-views. Hence, they have to have a cultural meaning and have to relate to collective sense-making.

At very first view, people express their preferences and world-views through their lifestyles. However, the genuine societal expression of preferences and world-views is the particular engineering / design (and 'modus operandi') of the production systems and consumption patterns that support people in maintaining their lifestyles. The 'engineering/design and operation of production systems and consumption patterns' in turn shape the intersection of societies with the biotic and abiotic environments of Earth. Whatever shape these intersections may take given the scientific-technical means and economic resources, essential for the respective design-decision will be people's world-views, their preference regarding their lifestyles, and their values.
People's preferences and values are shaped by and expressed through art, for example, narratives, that is here, tales about the purpose of actions and views about 'what is right'. Nowadays, as global change is intentional and massive, the arts shall capture the underpinning social and cultural features, such as preferences of people, their world-views, and reflect general purpose. Furthermore, the arts should extend the discussions between specialists beyond the respective realms of professional competence and influence the sense-making of how to design production systems and consumption patterns.

We, the Terra-Former.

What's the New?
Examples to illustrate the perspective of the central role of engineering/design in our cultures are many.

Civil engineering builds visible intersections of the Earth and (economic) activities of people, for example, dredging a waterway, building a bridge or constructing a hydroelectric power plant and other more subtle changes of Earth's geomorphology.

A less visible although powerful intersection of the Earth and (economic) activities of people are the various production systems and consumption patterns, which couple through fluxes of matter and energy.

Urban dwellings may serve as a further example; they constitute a visible intersection with the biogeosphere, and massive fluxes of energy and matter couple them to the Earth. For example, cities are receiving drinking water and ejecting wastewater, receiving electric power or fuels and ejecting heat, receiving food and ejecting manufactured goods that at the end of their life-cycle are discarded or recycled elsewhere on the globe.

An effective terra-engineering, that is 'design at a planetary scale', is taking place on Earth to sustain a human population of 9 to 11 Billion people by the end of the century. That's the New!

Bingo, Geo-Bio-Noosphere!

Obviously, culture and arts are parts of the Earth.
But, how does culture, arts relate to Earth?
To keep it simple, the Earth is composed of three spheres, a 'geosphere' of abiotic features, a 'biosphere' of biotic features, and a 'noosphere' of cognitive features. The meaning of notions 'geosphere' and 'biosphere' seem evident. To match to these two notions, what is meant by 'noosphere' needs re-focussing compared to its habitual (metaphysical) meaning.
The notions 'biosphere' and 'geosphere' are built in a similar manner. On one side they refer to physical features of the Earth, respectively biotic and abiotic objects that alter in time and space. On the other side, they refer to processes that govern the interaction of these physical features (objects) in space and time. To relate culture and arts to 'biosphere' and 'geosphere', the notion 'noosphere' should be re-coined referring also to particular 'physical features' (objects) and 'processes'.

The 'physical features' of the 'noosphere' are the artefacts that people make, not limited to but including 'engineered/designed systems for production and consumption'. The 'processes' in the 'noosphere' are the thoughtful insights of people about how to design, use and deploy these artefacts. Obviously, culture and arts are part of these thoughtful insights. Hence, the re-coined notion noosphere refers to physical features (artefacts, engineered systems) and processes (the intentional use of these artefacts).

The notions 'biosphere', 'geosphere' and 'noosphere' describe Earth as being composed of physical features and processes that govern interactions. Culture and arts are part of these processes. Consequently, a description of the Earth deems possible in which culture and arts are integral parts; 'a kind of hybrid Earth, of nature injected with human will, however responsible or irresponsible that will may have exercised' [Hamilton and Grinevald, 2015, p.68].

The Culture of “Ingenieurskunst" **

How does culture and arts relate to the engineering/design
of production systems and consumption patterns?
The engineering/design of production systems and consumption patterns happens in a double framework. The first framework is set by the scientific-technological means, which are deployed within the available economic resources. The second framework is set by the "narratives" about what an engineered/designed system/pattern shall deliver.

The construction and operation of any 'engineered / designed system / pattern' links people's activities to the Earth, either in a direct physical manner or through fluxes of energy and matter, or through both. The 'engineering / design
narrative' describes people's sense-making of their sociocultural-ecological niche. Hence, the engineered / designed system, as well as the particular operation procedures for its use, depend on natural and technical constraints, on economic means, and on societal choices.

For example, the design of the high-water spillway of a hydroelectric power plant applies safety rules and the laws of hydrodynamics. The retention of water in the lake behind the dam is managed in function of the hydrological regimes, the intended use of water downstream of the dam, and the needs of the society for electrical power. The design and operation of an engineered / designed system in is about the appropriation of resources, that is value-driven societal choices to allocate opportunities.

Summarizing, the engineering / design of the intersections of people's activities and the Earth is much more than science, technology and economy. The intersections are as much a reflection of our value systems, cultural choices, lifestyles, virtues and good courses of action. It is in addressing these matters of sense-making that cultures and arts play their role as essential cognitive features of our species.

* The essay is a contribution to the Salzburg Global Seminar (593) The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future; 20-25 February 2018; #SGSCULTURE.  The essay is derived from reflections in my paper Ideal-Type Narratives for Engineering a Human NicheGeosciences 2017,7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/geosciences7010018. Copyright / pictures: The author.

** The notion of 'engineering' is referred to in French and German as 'genie civil' and 'Ingenieurskunst', respectively. Rather than the English 'engineering', the corresponding French or German notions historically connote a more substantial concept,  'the ingenious civil' or 'the arts of engineering', respectively. Hence, both notions refer to the design and operation of purposely built and often larger-scale environments of artefacts.

Publications that were used to write this post:.

Allenby, B. R.; Sarewitz, D. The techno-human condition; The MIT Press: Cambridge, USA 2011.
Amundsen, H.; Berglund, F.; Westskog, H. Overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation—a question of multilevel governance? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 2010, 28, 276–289, doi:10.1068/c0941.
Anshelm, J.; Hansson, A. Battling Promethean dreams and Trojan horses: Revealing the critical discourses of geoengineering. Energy Research & Social Science 2014, 2, 135–144, doi:10.1016/j.erss.2014.04.001.
Banerjee, B. The Limitations of Geoengineering Governance In A World of Uncertainty. Stanford Journal of Law Science Policy 2011, 240, 15–36, (accessed 10 Januray 2017).
Barnosky, A. D.; Hadly, E. A.; Bascompte, J.; Berlow, E. L.; Brown, J. H.; Fortelius, M.; Getz, W. M.; Harte, J.; Hastings, A.; Marquet, P. A.; Martinez, N. D.; Mooers, A.; Roopnarine, P.; Vermeij, G.; Williams, J. W.; Gillespie, R.; Kitzes, J.; Marshall, C.; Matzke, N.; Mindell, D. P.; Revilla, E.; Smith, A. B. Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere. Nature 2012, 486, 52–58, doi:10.1038/nature11018.
Barnosky, A. D.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Hadly, E. A. Avoiding collapse: Grand challenges for science and society to solve by 2050. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 2016, 4, 94, doi:10.12952/journal.elementa.000094.
Barry, A.; Maslin, M. The politics of the Anthropocene: a dialogue. Geo: Geography and Environment 2016, 3, e00022, doi:10.1002/geo2.22.
Biermann, F. “Earth system governance” as a crosscutting theme of global change research. Global Environmental Change 2007, 17, 326–337, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2006.11.010.
Biermann, F. The Anthropocene: A governance perspective. The Anthropocene Review 2014, 1, 57–61, doi:10.1177/2053019613516289.
Bohle, M. Handling of Human-Geosphere Intersections. Geosciences 2016, 6, 3, doi: 10.3390/geosciences6010003
Bonneuil, C.; Fressoz, J.-B. L’événement Anthropocène - La terre, l’histoire et nous; Le Seuil: Paris, France, 2013.
Braje, T. J.; Erlandson, J. M. Looking forward, looking back: Humans, anthropogenic change, and the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 2013, 4, 116–121, doi:10.1016/j.ancene.2014.05.002.
Brown, A. Just Enough: lessons in living green from traditional Japan; Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, Japon, 2012.
Brown, A. G.; Tooth, S.; Bullard, J. E.; Thomas, D. S. G.; Chiverrell, R. C.; Plater, A. J.; Murton, J.; Thorndycraft, V. R.; Tarolli, P.; Rose, J.; Wainwright, J.; Downs, P.; Aalto, R. The Geomorphology of the Anthropocene: Emergence, status and implications. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 2016, 42, 71-90, doi:10.1002/esp.3943.
Bugliarello, G. Ideal of civil engineering. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 1994, 120, 290–294,
Cairney, P. The Politics of Evidence-Based Policy Making; Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, 2016.
Chakrabarty, D. The Anthropocene and the convergence of histories. In The Anthropcene and the Environmental Crisis; Hamilton, C.; Bonneuil, C.; Gemenne, F., Eds.; Routledge: Abingdon, USA, 2015; pp. 32–43.
Chew, S.; Sarabia, D. Nature–Culture Relations: Early Globalization, Climate Changes, and System Crisis. Sustainability 2016, 8, 78, doi:10.3390/su8010078
Chopra, A.; Lineweaver, C. H. The Case for a Gaian Bottleneck: The Biology of Habitability. Astrobiology 2016, 16, 7–22, doi:10.1089/ast.2015.1387.
Crona, B.; Wutich, A.; Brewis, A.; Gartin, M. Perceptions of climate change: Linking local and global perceptions through a cultural knowledge approach. Climatic Change 2013, 119, 519–531, doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0708-5.
Dalby, S. Framing the Anthropocene: The good, the bad and the ugly. The Anthropocene Review 2015, 3, 1–19, doi:10.1177/2053019615618681.
Denevan, W. M. The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 1992, 82, 369–385, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1992.tb01965.x..
Denevan, W. M. The Pristine Myth: Revisited. Geographical Review 2011, 101, 576–591, doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2011.00118.x.
Deutsch, D. The Beginning of Infinity; Alan Lane Pinguin: London, UK, 2011.
Dietz, S.; Groon, B.; Pizer, W. A. Weighing the cost and benefits of climate change to our children. Future of Children 2016, 26, 133–155,
Egré, D.; Milewski, J. C. The diversity of hydropower projects. Energy Policy 2002, 30, 1225–1230, doi:10.1016/S0301-4215(02)00083-6.
Ehrlich, P. R.; Kareiva, P. M.; Daily, G. C. Securing natural capital and expanding equity to re-scale civilization. Nature 2012, 486, 68–73, doi:10.1038/nature11157.
Ellis, E. C. The Planet of No Return Human Resilience on an Artificial Earth. The Breakthrough Institute 2011, 2, 37–44.
Ellis, E. C. Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 2011, 369, 1010–1035, doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0331.
Ellis, E. C.; Kaplan, J. O.; Fuller, D. Q.; Vavrus, S.; Klein Goldewijk, K.; Verburg, P. H. Used planet: A global history. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2013, 110, 7978–7985, doi:10.1073/pnas.1217241110.
Ellis, M. A.; Trachtenberg, Z. Which Anthropocene is it to be? Beyond geology to a moral and public discourse. Earth’s Future 2014, 2, 122-125, doi:10.1002/2013EF000191.
Ellis, E. C. Ecology in an anthropogenic biosphere. Ecological Monographs 2015, 85, 287–331, doi:10.1890/14-2274.1
Ellis, E. C.; Richerson, P. J.; Mesoudi, A.; Svenning, J.-C.; Odling-Smee, J.; Burnside, W. R. Evolving the human niche. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2016, 113, E4436–E4436, doi:10.1073/pnas.1609425113.
Foley, S. F.; Gronenborn, D.; Andreae, M. O.; Kadereit, J. W.; Esper, J.; Scholz, D.; Pöschl, U.; Jacob, D. E.; Schöne, B. R.; Schreg, R.; Vött, A.; Jordan, D.; Lelieveld, J.; Weller, C. G.; Alt, K. W.; Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S.; Bruhn, K.-C. C.; Tost, H.; Sirocko, F.; Crutzen, P. J. The Palaeoanthropocene – The beginnings of anthropogenic environmental change. Anthropocene 2013, 3, 83–88, doi:10.1016/j.ancene.2013.11.002.
Fressoz, J.-B. L’Apocalypse joyeuse - Une histoire du risque technologique; Le Seuil, Paris, France, 2012
Fu, B.; Wang, Y. K.; Xu, P.; Yan, K.; Li, M. Value of ecosystem hydropower service and its impact on the payment for ecosystem services. Science of the Total Environment 2014, 472, 338–346, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.015.
Fuentes, A. The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, Ethnography, and the Human Niche: Toward an Integrated Anthropology. Current Anthropology 2016, 57, S000–S000, doi:10.1086/685684.
Hamilton, C.; Bonneuil, Ch.; Gemenne F. The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking modernity in a new Epoch; Routledge: London, UK, 2015.
Hamilton, C.; Grinevald J. Was the Anthropocene anticipated? 2015, Anthropocene Review 2, 59-72, doi: 10.1177/2053019614567155.
Hamilton, C. Human destiny in the Anthropocene. In The Anthropocene and the Environmental Crisis; Hamilton, C.; Bonneuil, C.; Gemenne, F., Eds.; Routledge: Abingdon, USA, 2015; pp. 32–43.
Hamilton, C. The Theodicy of the “Good Anthropocene.” Environmental Humanities 2015, 7, 233–238,. doi:10.1215/22011919-3616434.
Head, B. W.; Alford, J. Wicked Problems: Implications for Public Policy and Management. Administration & Society 2015, 47, 711–739, doi:10.1177/0095399713481601.
Helbing, D. Globally networked risks and how to respond. Nature 2013, 497, 51–59, doi:10.1038/nature12047
Hutchings, J. A.; Stenseth, N. C. Communication of Science Advice to Government. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 2016, 31, 7-11, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2015.10.008.
Koch, F. H. Hydropower—the politics of water and energy: Introduction and overview. Energy Policy 2002, 30, 1207–1213, doi:10.1016/S0301-4215(02)00081-2.
Jones, N. A.; Ross, H.; Lynam, T.; Perez, P.; Leitch, A. Mental Model: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Theory and Methods. Ecology and Society 2011, 16, 46–46,
Kleinhans, M. G.; Buskes, C. J. J.; de Regt, H. W. Philosophy of Earth Science. In Philosophies of the Sciences; Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK, 2010; pp. 213–236, doi:10.1002/9781444315578.ch9.
Kowarsch, M. A Pragmatist Orientation for the Social Sciences in Climate Policy; Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science; Springer International Publishing: Switzerland 2016; Vol. 323.
Krauss, W. Anthropology in the Anthropocene : sustainable development, climate change and interdisciplinary research. In Grounding Global Climate change. Contributions from the Social and Cultural Sciences.; Springer, 2015; pp. 59–76, doi:10.1007/978-94-017-9322-3.
Kvellestad Isaksen, K. Where does nature end and culture begin ?, (accessed 10 January 2017)
Landes, D. S. The Unbound Prometheus; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK 2003.
Langmuir, C.; Broecker, W. How to build a habitable planet; Princton University Press, 2012.
Latour, B. Face à Gaia Huit conférences sur le Nouveau Régime Climatique; Editions La Découverte: Paris, France 2015.
Latour, B. Telling Friends from Foes in the Time of the Anthropocene. Thinking the Anthropocene, Paris, 14-15 November 2013 2013, 12, (accessed 10 Januray 2017).
Lewis, S. L.; Maslin, M. A. Defining the Anthropocene. Nature 2015, 519, 171–180, doi: 10.1038/nature14258
Loevbrand, E.; Beck, S.; Chilvers, J.; Forsyth, T.; Hedrén, J.; Hulme, M.; Lidskog, R.; Vasileiadou, E. Who speaks for the future of Earth? How critical social science can extend the conversation on the Anthropocene. Global Environmental Change 2015, 32, 211–218, doi 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.03.012 .
Monastersky, R. Anthropocene: The human age. Nature 2015, 519, 144–147, doi:10.1038/519144a.
Moore, A. Anthropocene anthropology: reconceptualizing contemporary global change. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2016, 22, 27–46, doi:10.1111/1467-9655.12332.
Morton, O. The Planet Remade - How Geoengineering could Change the World; Princton University Press: Princeton, USA, 2015.
Pagel, M. Wired for Culture Origins of the Human Social Mind; W.W. Norton & Company New York, USA, 2012.
Phillips, J. Storytelling in Earth sciences: The eight basic plots. Earth-Science Reviews 2012, 115, 153–162, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.09.005.
Pollitt, C. Debate: Climate change—the ultimate wicked issue. Public Money & Management 2016, 36, 78–80, doi:10.1080/09540962.2016.1118925.
Purdy, J. After Nature A Politics for the Anthropocene; Havard University Press, USA 2015.
Rayner, S.; Heyward, C.; Kruger, T.; Pidgeon, N.; Redgwell, C.; Savulescu, J. The Oxford Principles. Climatic Change 2013, 121, 499–512, doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0675-2.
Rickards, L. A. Metaphor and the Anthropocene: Presenting Humans as a Geological Force. Geographical Research 2015, 53, 280–287, doi:10.1111/1745-5871.12128.
Sayre, N. F. The Politics of the Anthropogenic. Annual Review of Anthropology 2012, 41, 57–70, doi:10.1146/annurev-anthro-092611-145846.
Schmidt, J.J. Historicising the Hydrological Cycle. Water Alternatives 2014, 7, 220-234.
Schmidt, J. J.; Brown, P. G.; Orr, C. J. Ethics in the Anthropocene: A research agenda. The Anthropocene Review 2016, 3, 188–200, doi:10.1177/2053019616662052.
Schwägerl, C. The Anthropocene - The human era and how it shapes our planet; Synergetic Press: London, UK, 2014.
Sternberg, R. Hydropower: Dimensions of social and environmental coexistence. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2008, 12, 1588–1621, doi:10.1016/j.rser.2007.01.027.Steffen, W.; Grinevald, J.; Crutzen, P.; McNeill, J. The Anthropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 2011, 369, 842–867, doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0327.
Sweeney, J. A. Command-and-control: Alternative futures of geoengineering in an age of global weirding. Futures 2014, 57, 1–13, doi:10.1016/j.futures.2013.12.005.
Tattersal, I. Masters of the Planet: the search for our human origins; Palgrave Macmillian, New York, USA, 2012.
Veland, S.; Lynch, A. H. Scaling the Anthropocene: How the stories we tell matter. Geoforum 2016, 72, 1–5, doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.03.006.
Viollet, P.-L. L’hydraulique dans les civilisations anciennes: 5000ans d’histoire; Presses Ponts et Chausssées, 2000.
Waters, C. N.; Zalasiewicz, J.; Summerhayes, C.; Barnosky, A. D.; Poirier, C.; Galuszka, A.; Cearreta, A.; Edgeworth, M.; Ellis, E. C.; Ellis, M. A.; Jeandel, C.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J. R.; Richter, D. d.; Steffen, W.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Vidas, D.; Wagreich, M.; Williams, M.; Zhisheng, A.; Grinevald, J.; Odada, E.; Oreskes, N.; Wolfe, A. P. The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science 2016, 351 (6269), doi:10.1126/science.aad2622.
Wilson, E. O. Half-Earth -our planet’s fight for life; Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
Zalasiewicz, J.; Waters, C. N.; Williams, M.; Barnosky, A. D.; Cearreta, A.; Crutzen, P.; Ellis, E. C.; Ellis, M. A.; Fairchild, I. J.; Grinevald, J.; Haff, P. K.; Hajdas, I.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J.; Odada, E. O.; Poirier, C.; Richter, D.; Steffen, W.; Summerhayes, C.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Vidas, D.; Wagreich, M.; Wing, S. L.; Wolfe, A. P.; An, Z.; Oreskes, N. When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International 2015, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045.
Zalasiewicz, J.; Williams, M.; Waters, C. N.; Barnosky, A. D.; Palmesino, J.; Ro nnskog, A.-S.; Edgeworth, M.; Neal, C.; Cearreta, A.; Ellis, E. C.; Grinevald, J.; Haff, P.; Ivar do Sul, J. A.; Jeandel, C.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J. R.; Odada, E.; Oreskes, N.; Price, S. J.; Revkin, A.; Steffen, W.; Summerhayes, C.; Vidas, D.; Wing, S.; Wolfe, A. P. Scale and diversity of the physical technosphere: A geological perspective. The Anthropocene Review 2016, 10.1177/2053019616677743 (accessed 10 Januray 2017).