Oracles of the Anthropocene

April 5, 2013

The Anthropocene  (link opens a pdf file) is a name widely but informally (and controversially) used in some academic corners to denote the current geological epoch.  This epoch is signified by the impact that human activity since the Industrial Revolution has had on the earth as a whole.   While it is a legitimate area of scientific research, it is also a deeply political term, used to justify extra-governmental and supra-national actions that can be seen as both anti-democratic and anti-liberty.  Roger Pielke has a post on his blog that describes how some are seeking to use the anthropocene concept of “planetary boundaries” as stalking horses for a sort of global coup d’etat, wherein a small, self-selected group of experts would exercise ultimate authority over all levels of policy, trumping national and local decision and policy making.  Such an outcome is unlikely and far in the distance even if it were to come to pass, but it strikes me that it would be a retrograde outcome, returning mankind to an era where we were ruled by a priestly cast, claiming special and exclusive knowledge and passing judgements on which there could be no appeal.

Read the Pielke piece and especially all his links.  The comments section is quite good, too.


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