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Anthropocene ethics: Rethinking'the political'after environment
Format: Conference Paper
Publication Year: 2004
Source ID: shanti-sources-79901
Abstract: The International Geosphere Biosphere Program has recently suggested that we now live in a new era ofnatural history, the Anthropocene, one marked by the emergence of a new series of geological, biological and climatological forcing mechanisms in the biosphere. These new forcing agents are changing the composition of trace gases in the atmosphere, moving large amounts of material all over the planet, drastically curtailing, and in many cases, eliminating habitats and their species. The ethical challenge now for global environmental politics, and especially for international relations specialists thinking about these themes, is to work within such a frame of reference. In this sense at least "environment" has been superceded. The most pressing ethical matters in the shadow of the Kyoto protocol, and recent events in the so called 'Middle East' relate the political questions of who "we" now are, and how we might usefully know how "we" might change our identities, and our actions, in light of the sheer scale of recent anthropogenically induced changes within the biosphere.