The Age of Man, or the Anthropocene. As cultural philosopher Peter Sloterdijk wrote in his book “You have to change your life“, we are living in an age where mankind itself now is a factor of change in the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model. Peter wrote that this is the age where the human mindset for the first time is thinking globally, and is realising more and more that his actions have a global impact on many factors. These factors are part of complex intertwined global systems. These sysems can be Economic of nature, where the complex interconnection became very clear during the financial crisis, and also Ecologically of nature, where the climate crisis did it part. As written also in the Economist of May 26th 2011. “Humans have changed the way the world works. Now they have to change the way they think about it, too”. Nowadays mankind IS a significant factor in the earth-system, he can no longer stand back and ignore the fact that he should take control of the wheel. For its own survival mankind should organise itself, have a long term vision and as one organism steer the earth system in the right direction. The vision is Resilience, not sustainability. Sustainability is grasping for maintaining the status quo, Resilience is about making flexible so it can withstand dramatic change. Like the buildings build in Japan, their foundation is made flexible, so the building can withstand and absorb earth quake shocks.
The climate top in Copenhagen 2009 showed that mankin is not ready to make the offerings to create a resilient vision. When it fails to cooperate and still hold on to its current model of Ultra Consumerism, mankind will face a grim future. The documentary called “The Age of Stupid” tell us how the world looks like in 2100 if we don’t have a globally organised mandated vision. The documentary also tells us where it went wrong.
The title of the book from Peter Sloterdijk is well apt: “You must change your life”. This means: completely as we know it, in order to prevent the earth system to collapse to a point of no return. the current models will not be fit for a planet that holds billions of people striving for the Western way of life.
At the TED conference Johan Rockström explains that the earth system has nine buffer area’s, that can take hits from ecological disaster after disaster. When that buffer is depleted, the logic of the system changes drastically, and may drive in the opposite direction. When the logic changes, it is harder to predict who the earth system will react.
See also: Resilience Science
The sources of energy are getting depleted in 100 years time since the start of the industrial revolution, where mankind sets aside God, and became God himself. Now mankind can create its own future, yet it has to learn how to control and steer it in the right direction.
The challenge for mankind is to generate a different global mindset, and have faith the vision will be merciful for its future. A new world religion should be born, with its own rituals and priests, where millions of minds are mentally supporting the new world vision. Perhaps that is how to get the different global mindset. The mindful actions are the rituals, and the scientists are the preaching priests.
So what to do now? Well, there is hope according to Prof. Louise Vet there is hope. She learns us to “Think global, act local“. In her presentation at the TEDx conferentie in Amsterdam, she teaches us that this mantra is the only solution to be flexible for future set-backs.
“Think global, act local”. In other words be resilient in creativity. The artists of today have this creative mindset we can set to work in the anthropocene for other things then making paintings and sculptures. In the Netherlands the government stopped subsidising the Art sector in 2011. These people are the new poor, or the new hope. They will become the new hope, only if world governments are starting realising that; to live in the Anthropocene means to start taking control over the drivers wheel. The creative of minds know how to be resilient. They are masters in wielding the steer, so let them act and play their role on a local level within society.
Personal note: My challenge would be to enact this mantra “think global, act local” much as possible. And furthermore help others to enact this mantra as well. Currently I don’t know where to start. I can think about local farming, but that means I need to have knowledge and the time to do it. Buying the right things. Eating local food, food that comes with the season. Investing in local energy stations (solar, wind). There is this small book called “practical idealism” that would be nice to read.
- Welcome to the Anthropocene, The Economist, May 26th 2011, http://www.economist.com/node/18744401
- Du musst dein Leben aendern, Peter Sloterdijk, 2009, http://www.petersloterdijk.net/werk/suhrkamp/du-musst-dein-leben-aendern
- Welcome to the Anthropocene (economist.com)
- The Economist Offers a Sobering Outlook on the Risks and Challenges of the Anthropocene (bigthink.com)