How to 'live well' in the Anthropocene — Bulb Community

How to 'live well' in the Anthropocene

Joseph Samuels from the Breakthrough Institute drew this cartoon. It tickled me.



His cartoon gets us thinking about some serious questions though.

It’s argued that humans have caused such great atmospheric, chemical, physical and biological changes to the planet that the current geological epoch- the Holocene - needed a new name.

Geologists generally agree that we’ve entered the ‘Anthropocene’. This name is derived from ‘Anthropo’ which is the Greek word for human and ‘cene’, another word for a geological epoch.

Not everyone agrees when the Anthropocene started but many think it was around the time of the Industrial Revolution. The early 1800s saw the first fossil-fuel economies, large-scale transport links and rapid growth of the human population. And this was the time when global climate temperatures noticeably began to increase.

Although the Anthropocene highlights human responsibility for the earth’s ecological changes, it’s not all doom and gloom. Samuels' colleagues over at the Breakthrough Institute think that developing better technologies and greater modernization of human life will allow humans to 'live well' in the Anthropocene.

Traditional environmentalists believe humans need to cut back to preserve the planet and live sustainably. For example, this means using organic farming techniques and renewable energy sources. And that continuing current rates of economic growth will only harm the environment.

The Breakthrough Institute has a more optimistic outlook. They think that us humans can reduce our environmental impact alongside continuing economic growth. For example, by investing in better technologies to increase crop yields, we can feed the world's rapidly growing population. This means that by using fewer resources but more effectively, we can have more room for wild spaces. So humans and the rest of nature can continue to live happily side-by-side.

But there are some more controversial ideas that the Breakthrough Institute support including the use of GM crops and nuclear energy. Engineering what we have to be more efficient does not sit well with all.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we should 'live well' in the Anthropocene.
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