Anthropocene is the name given by scientists to the new era in geology caused by human intervention, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. It is only 250 years old, a mote in the eye of geological time, which can barely register the ephemeral 10,000 years of the preceding Holocene, whose unusually stable climatic conditions made human agriculture and civilization possible.
If modern industrial capitalism were a person, he or she would be on suicide watch. The system that has brought us quantum physics and reality television, modern medicine and the columns of Andrew Bolt is set on a course which, by all the best reckoning, points directly to its doing itself in. If capitalism goes on — everything goes. Climate, coastlines, most living species, food supplies, the great bulk of humanity. And certainly, the preconditions for advanced civilisation, perhaps forever.
When you are racing through a rural landscape on a bullet train, it looks as if everything you are passing is standing still: people, tractors, cars on country roads. They aren’t, of course. They are moving, but at a speed so slow compared with the train that they appear static. So it is with climate change.
Hadas Thier, System Change Not Climate Change -- NYC, New Politics, April 21, 2014
Save the earth by buying a Prius? That seems to be the takeaway message from this year’s Earth Day New York taking place on April 22. Earth Day events in the city will be sponsored by – Who would have guessed? – Toyota.
Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. At their core, monetary debts are extremely narrow and simplified ways of representing what are often very complicated relationships between creditors and debtors. If we can zoom out from the simple calculation of money owed and look at the broader histories, human relationships, and power dynamics that lie behind a debt, it quickly becomes clear that there are countless ways to imagine who owes what to whom. Seen in this expanded context, a claim that repayment of a debt is morally just can begin to seem absurd.
A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.