Analytic theory Anthropocentrism Books Global Longue durée Social Ecology

The Shock of the Anthropocene (2013)


Jean-Baptiste Fressoz

Christophe Bonneuil


“What exactly has been happening on Earth in the last quarter of a millennium? The Anthropocene. Anthropo-what? We already live in the Anthropocene, so let us get used to this ugly word and the reality that it names. It is our epoch and our condition.

This geological epoch is the product of the last few hundred years of our history. The Anthropocene is the sign of our power, but also of our impotence. It is an Earth whose atmosphere has been damaged by the 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide we have spilled by burning coal and other fossil fuels. It is the impoverishment and artificializing of Earth’s living tissue, permeated by a host of new synthetic chemical molecules that will even affect our descendants. It is a warmer world with a higher risk of catastrophes, a reduced ice cover, higher sea-levels and a climate out of control.

The Anthropocene label, proposed in the 2000s by specialists in Earth system sciences, is an essential tool for understanding what is happening to us. This is not just an environmental crisis, but a geological revolution of human origin. The present book sets out to comprehend this new epoch through the narratives that can be made of it. It calls for new environmental humanities to rethink our visions of the world and our ways of inhabiting the Earth together.

Scientists have built up data and models that already situate us beyond the point of no return to the Holocene, on the timetable of geological epochs. They have produced figures and curves that depict humanity as a major geological force. But what narratives can make sense of these dramatic curves ?”

Leave a comment below with a valid email adress (it will not be published) to request this book.

Leave a Reply