Contaminated Diversity in “Slow Disturbance”: Potential Collaborators for a Liveable Earth


The Anthropocene is an era of mass extinction, yet also an era of emergence. What has emerged? This paper discusses the concepts of “contaminated diversity”—collaborative adaptation to human-disturbed ecosystems—and “slow disturbance”—anthropogenic systems in which many other species can live. Using the examples of matsutake mushrooms in Japan, the Meratus Dayaks of the rainforests of Kalimantan, and the “rubble ecologies” of post-war Berlin, the article argues that we must pay attention to the cultural and biological synergies through which diversity continues to emerge, even in ruins.