Learning to live in the anthropocene

The 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) is now underway in Warsaw, Poland, where thousands have gathered in the streets calling upon UN delegates to agree to drastic reductions in carbon emissions in order to stave off the harshest results of climate change and preserve human life on this planet. That’s why I was a little distressed in reading Roy Scranton’s recent opinion piece in The New York Times, “Learning how to die in the Anthropocene.” The words of the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky came to mind. I believe a translation goes something like: “In this life / it’s not hard to die. But to make life / is trickier by far.”

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