Ending the Anthropocene
Essays on Activism in the Age of Collapse
In this book, activist philosopher and philosophical activist Lieven de Cauter investigates the idea that if we want to avoid collapse, we have to end the Anthropocene – the geological era of the gigantic, devastating impact of our species on planet Earth. It might even be, he argues, that the collapse of our current, growth-maximizing system is the only hope for the biosphere. Offering case studies on urban activism alongside more general reflections on civic action and social movements, De Cauter moves from the political melancholy caused by the near certainty of climate disaster and meditations on the end of ‘the Age of Man’, towards reflections on more hopeful events of our times, like the resurgence of the commons. He hails the rediscovery of this forgotten and excluded third besides public and private, arguing it contains the seeds of another worldview and another politics. From this new perspective identity and heterotopia, other spaces as places for otherness, can be read in a new light. This collection of writings closes with texts on the corona crisis. Biopolitics, the care for the life of the population by the state, has gained a new topicality in this age of pandemics. The mix of philosophical, theoretical texts and newspaper articles make for a broadly accessible, exciting book of ‘activist essays’, in accordance with the basic creed of its author: ‘pessimism in theory, optimism in practice’. Even if geologists are not quite sure when the Anthropocene has begun, it is high time to end it.
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