There’s ongoing debate within the scientific community surrounding the geologic epoch in which we’re living. The period since the end of the last glaciation roughly 12,000 years ago is generally referred to as the Holocene. But some argue that humanity’s impacts on the planet, from climate change to mass extinction, have been significant enough that we’ve entered a new epoch—the Anthropocene—in which our collective actions are setting the world on a new course. In his new book Extreme Cities: The Perils and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change, CUNY professor Ashley Dawson argues that “Anthropocene” doesn’t take things far enough. We are living, Dawson says, in the Oliganthropocene, “the era in which a small fraction of humanity exploited the planet’s fragile environmental systems, not to mention immense numbers of their fellow human beings, beyond the point of sustainability.” Capitalism’s emphasis on expansion has created vulnerable coastal cities in which the poor bear an outsized burden during natural disasters, a reality that’s been made abundantly clear by the 2017 hurricane season. Working towards an equitable future in the face of the coming storms will mean radically rethinking our economic system and relationships with each other. Earther chatted… Read full this story
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