CONSERVATION IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

by contemplativeinquiry

What does ‘conservation’ mean now? A thoughtful reconsideration.

Make Wealth History

What does conservation look like in the Anthropocene era? That’s a question I found myself asking as I read Chris D Thomas’ stimulating book Inheritors of the Earth. If we recognise that human activity is now shaping the whole of the earth, what implications does it have for conservation? I’d suggest it has pretty serious implications, because many long established notions around nature and wilderness are disturbed by the idea of the Anthropocene. We can’t hope to leave nature alone and ‘untouched’ by human presence if our presence is ubiquitous. Nowhere can be reserved and set aside if the whole planet is changing. The global effects of human activity challenge our whole understanding of wildness and wilderness.

Thomas argues that we need “a conservation philosophy that is based on natural change, with humans centre stage: partly because we have already brought about so many changes to the world that…

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