Humans have become so powerful that we are disrupting the functioning of the earth, to the point where scientists now consider we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Clive Hamilton argues this forces us to rethink what kind of creature we humans are, and to acknowledge the power we still have to change the world for good.
Forget everything you know. Nature is no longer nature. Humans are no longer humans. We have entered a new era -- the Anthropocene. Everything has changed.
Humans have become so powerful that we have disrupted the functioning of the Earth, bringing on a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. The stable environmental conditions that allowed civilisation to flourish are disappearing.
What does it mean to have arrived at this point, where human history and Earth history collide? Clive Hamilton argues we need to rethink everything. The modern belief that we are free beings making our own future by taking control of our environment is now indefensible. We have rendered the Earth more unpredictable and less controllable; a disobedient planet. And it's too late to turn back the geological clock.
We must face the fact that humans are at the centre of the world, even if we must give up the idea we can control the planet. These truths call for a new kind of anthropocentrism, a philosophy by which we might use our power responsibly and find a way to live on a defiant Earth.
'A dark, disturbing, provocative and entirely original work, which should be read by everyone genuinely interested in the future of humankind.' Robert Manne FASSA, Emeritus Professor of Politics and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, La Trobe University
Clive Hamilton is Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University. One of Australia's leading thinkers, he is author of the bestselling Requiem for a Species, and The Freedom Paradox and Growth Fetish.
Table Of Contents:
Preface: On waking up
1. The Anthropocene Rupture
A rupture in Earth history
Volition in nature
Earth System science
The ecomodernist gloss
An epoch by any other name
2. A New Anthropocentrism
To doubt everything
The antinomy of the Anthropocene
A new anthropocentrism
The world-making creature
The new anthropocentrism versus ecomodernism
In praise of technology
3. Friends and Adversaries
Grand narratives are dead, until now
The freak of nature
The ontological wrong turn
Recovering the cosmological sense?
4. A Planetary History?
The significance of humans
Does history have a meaning?
An Enlightenment fable 'Politics is fate'
5. The Rise and Fall of the Super-agent
Freedom is woven into nature-as-a-whole
Responsibility is not enough
Living without Utopia
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin