Tuesday 11 July 2017

Microblog mesoblog: On the cosmopolitics of the Anthropocene

It's easy to get carried away on Twitter. That's more or less its purpose. I sometimes wonder what the point of writing long threads of multiple tweets is. Why not just write it properly, in continuous prose?! However, occasionally I too indulge the medium's raison d'ĂȘtre.

I was re-reading a piece that I commented on before: Scientists still don’t understand the Anthropocene – and they’re going about it the wrong way by Mark Maslin and Erle Ellis.

(Full disclosure – and no surprises: I am also a white, male and Western, although not much of a scientist.)

I should add that the Anthropocene as a scientific problem necessarily concerns more than geologists in the strict, disciplinary sense. Earth sciences are a far broader church today than they were in the past. Nevertheless, I think the point stands.

They argue, in short, that:
"Defining a human epoch is so important it should not be rushed. It should be treated by scholars from all disciplines with the seriousness it deserves."
I could not disagree. However, there is a risk of politically overburdening earth scientists when, in fairness, human and social sciences are not necessarily in a position to be overconfident in their own cosmopolitical acuity.

Reminding ourselves of the Greek epokhe would therefore seem to be a necessary waypoint in this conversation.