Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Towards Convivial Conservation
Büscher, Bram ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
Conservation and Society 17 (2019)3. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 283 - 296.
Anthropocene - capitalism - conservation - conviviality - nature - political ecology

Environmental conservation finds itself in desperate times. Saving nature, to be sure, has never been an easy proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene-the alleged new phase of world history in which humans dominate the earth-system seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have now become particularly stark. Several proposals for revolutionising conservation have been proposed, including 'new' conservation, 'half Earth' and more. These have triggered heated debates and potential for (contemplating) radical change. Here, we argue that these do not take political economic realities seriously enough and hence cannot lead us forward. Another approach to conservation is needed, one that takes seriously our economic system's structural pressures, violent socio-ecological realities, cascading extinctions and increasingly authoritarian politics. We propose an alternative termed 'convivial conservation'. Convivial conservation is a vision, a politics and a set of governance principles that realistically respond to the core pressures of our time. Drawing on a variety of perspectives in social theory and movements from around the globe, it proposes a post-capitalist approach to conservation that promotes radical equity, structural transformation and environmental justice and so contributes to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world.

How to deal with hybrids in the anthropocene? Towards a philosophy of technology and environmental philosophy 2.0
Hoły-Łuczaj, Magdalena ; Blok, Vincent - \ 2019
Environmental Values 28 (2019)3. - ISSN 0963-2719 - p. 325 - 346.
Anthropocene - Biomimicry - Hybrids - Nature - Technology

The Anthropocene overthrows classical dichotomies like technology and nature and a new class of beings emerges: hybrids. The transitive status of hybrids - which establishes an extra, separate, ‘third’ ontological category, going beyond the dichotomy between nature and technology - constitutes a significant problem for environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology since they traditionally focus on either ʼnature’ (natural entities) or ‘artefacts’ (technological objects). In order to reflect on the ethical significance of hybrids, a classification of different types of hybrids is required. Such a classification is provided by this article, based on insights from both environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology. After explaining why a new class of beings emerges in the Anthropocene, and reflecting on the one-sidedness of philosophy of technology and environmental philosophy in their focus on either technology or nature, we propose a new classification of hybrids in this article that provides a new starting point for reflections on the moral significance of hybrids in environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology.

Seeing Through the Fumes: Technology and Asymmetry in the Anthropocene
Zwier, Jochem ; Blok, Vincent - \ 2019
Human Studies (2019). - ISSN 0163-8548
Anthropocene - Asymmetry - Bataille - Cybernetics - Earth - Heidegger

This paper offers a twofold ontological conceptualization of technology in the Anthropocene. On the one hand, we aim to show how the Anthropocene occasions an experience of our inescapable inclusion in the technological structuring of reality that Martin Heidegger associates with cybernetics. On the other hand, by confronting Heidegger’s thought on technology with Georges Bataille’s consideration of technological existence as economic and averted existence, we will criticize Heidegger’s account by arguing that notwithstanding its inescapable inclusion in cybernetics, technology in the Anthropocene itself fosters an experience of what remains excluded. We conclude by indicating how such an experience is relevant for contemporary philosophical investigation of technology.

Dancing on the volcano: Social exploration in times of discontent
Carpenter, Stephen R. ; Folke, Carl ; Scheffer, Marten ; Westley, Frances R. - \ 2019
Ecology and Society 24 (2019)1. - ISSN 1708-3087
Anthropocene - Complex systems - Pathways - Resilience - Terror management theory - Transformation

Radical recent developments such as Brexit, the rise of extreme nationalism, the gilets jaunes, polarizing leaders, the Arab Spring, and fundamentalist movements are indications of societal discontent with the status quo. Other societal phenomena such as gender fluidity, veganism, and bartering are also associated with a perceived need to change. The context is the Anthropocene, a human-dominated biosphere challenging the resilience of a livable planet. Such a broad set of developments may be interpreted in the light of new insights from theory of complex systems about what happens as resilience of the current pathway (societal organization as we know it) decreases. Rising fluctuations characterize a phase of uncertainty and exploration, potentially leading into a transition of the system toward a new pathway. We reflect on global changes that may contribute to social destabilization such as rising wealth concentration and environmental degradation and ask how responses may be understood from social-psychological forces such as the need for group identity and managing the terror of mortality. The emerging image is that of a society engaged in multifaceted experimentation. Maintaining such experimentation may help inspire novel pathways to desirable futures, but there is a risk of societies becoming trapped in backward-looking narratives that threaten long-term sustainable outcomes.

Ecotourism after nature : Anthropocene tourism as a new capitalist “fix”
Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
Journal of Sustainable Tourism 27 (2019)4. - ISSN 0966-9582 - p. 522 - 535.
Anthropocene - capitalism - Capitalocene - disaster - ecotourism - voluntourism

How does ecotourism–conventionally characterized by its pursuit of a “natural” experience–confront assertions that “nature is over” attendant to growing promotion of the “Anthropocene”? One increasingly prominent strategy is to try to harness this “end of nature” itself as a novel tourism “product”. If the Anthropocene is better understood as the Capitalocene, as some contend, then this strategy can be viewed as a paradigmatic example of disaster capitalism in which crises precipitated by capitalist processes are themselves exploited as new forms of accumulation. In this way, engagement with the Anthropocene becomes the latest in a series of spatio-temporal “fixes” that the tourism industry can be seen to provide to the capitalist system in general. Here I explore this dynamic by examining several ways in which the prospect of the loss of “natural” resources are promoted as the basis of tourism experience: disaster tourism; extinction tourism; voluntourism; development tourism; and, increasingly, self-consciously Anthropocene tourism as well. Via such strategies, Anthropocene tourism exemplifies capitalism’s astonishing capacity for self-renewal through creative destruction, sustaining itself in a “post-nature” world by continuing to market social and environmental awareness and action even while shifting from pursuit of nonhuman “nature” previously grounding these aims.

Technocratic Management Versus Ethical Leadership Redefining Responsible Professionalism in the Agri-Food Sector in the Anthropocene
Blok, Vincent - \ 2018
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2018)5. - ISSN 1187-7863 - p. 583 - 591.
Anthropocene - Biobased economy - Food chain - Precision livestock farming - Responsible professionalism

In this contribution, we argue that three related developments provide economic, environmental and social challenges and opportunities for a new responsible professionalism in the food chain: (1) the Anthropocene; (2) the bio-based economy; (3) Precision Livestock Farming. These three interrelated developments indicate a transition in the way we understand the role and function of the food chain on the micro-, the meso- and the macro-level. This transition can be understood in two fundamental different ways, namely either as an extension of technocratic management beyond the micro level to the meso- and macro-level of the food chain, or as a transition to a new responsible professionalism. We argue that the technocratic approach is not able to address the socio-ethical issues that come along with these three development, and argue for a new responsible professionalism in the agri-food chain in the Anthropocene based on normative and action competence.

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
Steffen, Will ; Rockström, Johan ; Richardson, Katherine ; Lenton, Timothy M. ; Folke, Carl ; Liverman, Diana ; Summerhayes, Colin P. ; Barnosky, Anthony D. ; Cornell, Sarah E. ; Crucifix, Michel ; Donges, Jonathan F. ; Fetzer, Ingo ; Lade, Steven J. ; Scheffer, Marten ; Winkelmann, Ricarda ; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim - \ 2018
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115 (2018)33. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 8252 - 8259.
Anthropocene - Biosphere feedbacks - Climate change - Earth system trajectories - Tipping elements

We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.

Future directions for conservation
Keulartz, Jozef - \ 2016
Environmental Values 25 (2016)4. - ISSN 0963-2719 - p. 385 - 407.
Anthropocene - Conservation baselines - Novel ecosystems - Old world and New world perspectives - Rewilding

The use of target baselines or reference states for conservation and restoration has become increasingly problematic and impractical, due to rapid environmental change, the paradigm shift in ecology from a static to a dynamic view of nature, and growing awareness of the role of cultural traditions in the reconstruction of baselines. The various responses to this crisis of baselines will to a significant extent determine the future direction of nature conservation. Although some hold onto traditional baselines and others try to refine or redefine the reference concept, the debate is currently dominated by two widely diverging reactions to the crisis: while the so-called ‘new environmentalists’ or ‘new conservationists’ declare the whole baseline notion obsolete, replacing a backward-looking approach with a forward-looking one, the ‘re-wilders’ push the baseline back to a deeper, more distant past. This article provides a critical assessment of the debate on these conversation options, with a special focus on the differences between Old World and New World perspectives.

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