The SF of Sustainability

Re-posted from Immanence:

Since it’s the Holocene that has provided the conditions for the (human-led) biogeochemical experimentation that has now likely achieved a runaway state, and since “Holocene” was never anything other than a placeholder term — it only means “entirely new” — it seems inappopriate to replace it with the term “Anthropocene.”

“Holocene” begins as a leap of faith — that this interglacial may somehow be different from previous Pleistocene interglacials. Until the evidence for that becomes conclusive — that is, until planetary systems settle into a new and different holding pattern — we should just call our era the “Late Holocene” and leave it at that (i.e., ambiguous). We have no idea how it will end or what will follow; we only know it’s likely to be short. The dream of human sustainability is still mostly science-fiction. (Even if indigenous cultures have shown it’s not entirely unimaginable.)

All that said, “Anthropocene” is a good conversation starter. We’ll need a new one in a few years. (Perhaps something more apocalyptic.)

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