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The Anthropocene as Rupture: Its profound importance and various attempts to deflate it - seminar with Clive Hamilton

Date: 8 June 2015 Time: 16.00-18.00 pm

Venue: Training Rooms 1&2, Gordon Manley Building, Lancaster Environment Centre

The arrival of the Anthropocene represents a rupture in Earth history with profound consequences for humankind and the Earth system itself, consequences we are only beginning to understand. The concept grew out of the new discipline of Earth system science, which emerged in the last decades of the 20th century and supersedes environmental science. Earth system science is a ‘paradigm shift’ that meets resistance from much of the relevant scientific community. As soon as the Anthropocene concept was proposed in the year 2000, a number of scientists and social scientists have put forward interpretations that, mostly unconsciously, deflate the significance of the new epoch and the threat it poses to humankind and the Earth. It has variously been equated with the Holocene so reducing it to the familiar and unthreatening; interpreted as just another instance of ecological or landscape change, if on a larger scale; rendered banal by the discovery of historical precursors for the idea; and, framed not as a catastrophe but as a welcome opportunity for humans to remake the Earth. Each of these can be shown to be a misreading arising either from a misunderstanding of Earth system science or from the imposition of an unscientific gloss.

Clive Hamilton is an Australian academic and author of a number of books, including Growth Fetish, Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change and, most recently, Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering. He is currently writing a book on the larger meaning of the Anthropocene.  Clive was the founder and executive director of the Australia Institute, the nation’s leading progressive think tank. He is currently Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. He has held various visiting academic positions, including at Yale University, Sciences Po and the University of Oxford.

All welcome. The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

This event is organised jointly by the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Global Futures.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Sociology

Keyword: Environment


Department of Sociology

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Department of Sociology, Bowland North, Lancaster University, LA1 4YT, UK
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