"The Theodicy of the “Good Anthropocene”

Hamilton, Clive | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Hamilton, Clive. “The Theodicy of the “Good Anthropocene.” Environmental Humanities 7, no. 1 (2016): 233-38. doi:10.1215/22011919-3616434.

To the dismay of those who first proposed it, the Anthropocene is being reframed as an event to be celebrated rather than lamented and feared. Instead of final proof of the damage done by techno-industrial hubris, the “ecomodernists” welcome the new epoch as a sign of man’s ability to transform and control nature. They see it as evidence neither of global capitalism’s essential fault nor of humankind’s shortsightedness and rapacity; instead, it arrives as an opportunity for humans finally to come into their own.

A few years ago Erle Ellis began to speak of the “good Anthropocene,” an unlikely juxtaposition now amplified into the idea of the “great Anthropocene” and set out in An Ecomodernist Manifesto. There are no planetary boundaries that limit continued growth in human populations and economic advance, they argue. “Human systems” can adapt and indeed prosper in a warmer world because history proves our flexibility. (Author’s introduction)

© Clive Hamilton 2016. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).