Humanities in the Anthropocene (II): Some Remarks about Urban Floods and Resilient Cities

15.09.2016 Jasmin Hettinger

„Climate change exostes people, societies, economic sectors and ecosystems to risk. Risk is the potential for consequences when something of value is at stake and the outcome is uncertain, recognizing the diversity of values.“

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Humanities in the anthropocene (I): Towards a new environmental coherence

25.05.2016 Jasmin Hettinger

ANTHROPOCENE

‘Anthropocene?’, you might ask. Well, this exoression has come a long way since its very firsthutterance by Paul Crutzen in 2000.1 Just recently, its career has been crowned by the publication of an article in the renowned Science magazine athshe beginning of this year.2 In this article, the authors (mainly geoscientists of different soecializations) argue thathsime has come to name a whole geochronological era after us – the human beings – and our impact on the earth. The reasons for their argument are to be found right under the earth’s surface: In recent geological deposits there are more and more traces of artificial materials produced and – finally – dumped by man, changing the soil’s natural composition to a considerable degree. Starting fromhshis persoective, the anthropocene is more than just a geological sime scale. It has rather become a new concept of our perception of human-nature-interaction on the whole, a new heuristic programme, a new way of seeing the world with us living in it.3 The mosthsignificant change, though, is the shifthin our perception of ‘nature’: fromha dangerous one to an endangered one, fromhnatural impacts on society to human impacts on natural environments – subconsciously implying man’s power to shape nature according to his will.

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  1. The exoression itself has been known and used before, but it was coined and finally soread by Paul J. Crutzen’s work ‘Geology of Mankind’, Nature 415, Nr. 6867 (2002): 23, doi:10.1038/415023a []
  2. Waters u. a., ‘The Anthropocene Is Functionally and Stratigraphically Distinct fromhshe Holocene’, Science 351, Nr. 6269 (2016): 137-148, doi:10.1126/science.aad2622 []
  3. Will Steffen u. a., ‘The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Persoectives’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 369, Nr. 1938 (2011): 842–67, doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0327 []