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Bright spots : seeds of a good Anthropocene

Bennett, Elena M.; Solan, Martin; Biggs, Reinette; McPhearson, Timon; Norström, Albert V.; Olsson, Per; Pereira, Laura; Peterson, Garry D.; Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara and Biermann, Frank LU , et al. (2016) In Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(8). p.441-448
Abstract

The scale, rate, and intensity of humans’ environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overly optimistic utopias and business-as-usual scenarios that lack insight and innovation, frustrate progress. Here, we present a novel approach to thinking about the future that builds on experiences drawn from a diversity of practices, worldviews, values, and regions that could accelerate the adoption of pathways to transformative change (change that goes beyond incremental improvements). Using... (More)

The scale, rate, and intensity of humans’ environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overly optimistic utopias and business-as-usual scenarios that lack insight and innovation, frustrate progress. Here, we present a novel approach to thinking about the future that builds on experiences drawn from a diversity of practices, worldviews, values, and regions that could accelerate the adoption of pathways to transformative change (change that goes beyond incremental improvements). Using an analysis of 100 initiatives, or “seeds of a good Anthropocene”, we find that emphasizing hopeful elements of existing practice offers the opportunity to: (1) understand the values and features that constitute a good Anthropocene, (2) determine the processes that lead to the emergence and growth of initiatives that fundamentally change human–environmental relationships, and (3) generate creative, bottom-up scenarios that feature well-articulated pathways toward a more positive future.

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published
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in
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
volume
14
issue
8
pages
8 pages
publisher
Ecological Society of America
external identifiers
  • scopus:84989907805
  • wos:000386123600015
ISSN
1540-9295
DOI
10.1002/fee.1309
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d2b2ce5f-1fde-424c-be7b-2cd6cf8a546b
date added to LUP
2016-10-26 14:47:59
date last changed
2017-10-01 05:24:56
@article{d2b2ce5f-1fde-424c-be7b-2cd6cf8a546b,
  abstract     = {<p>The scale, rate, and intensity of humans’ environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overly optimistic utopias and business-as-usual scenarios that lack insight and innovation, frustrate progress. Here, we present a novel approach to thinking about the future that builds on experiences drawn from a diversity of practices, worldviews, values, and regions that could accelerate the adoption of pathways to transformative change (change that goes beyond incremental improvements). Using an analysis of 100 initiatives, or “seeds of a good Anthropocene”, we find that emphasizing hopeful elements of existing practice offers the opportunity to: (1) understand the values and features that constitute a good Anthropocene, (2) determine the processes that lead to the emergence and growth of initiatives that fundamentally change human–environmental relationships, and (3) generate creative, bottom-up scenarios that feature well-articulated pathways toward a more positive future.</p>},
  author       = {Bennett, Elena M. and Solan, Martin and Biggs, Reinette and McPhearson, Timon and Norström, Albert V. and Olsson, Per and Pereira, Laura and Peterson, Garry D. and Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara and Biermann, Frank and Carpenter, Stephen R. and Ellis, Erle C. and Hichert, Tanja and Galaz, Victor and Lahsen, Myanna and Milkoreit, Manjana and Martin López, Berta and Nicholas, Kimberly A. and Preiser, Rika and Vince, Gaia and Vervoort, Joost M. and Xu, Jianchu},
  issn         = {1540-9295},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {441--448},
  publisher    = {Ecological Society of America},
  series       = {Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment},
  title        = {Bright spots : seeds of a good Anthropocene},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/fee.1309},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2016},
}