What is it about?

I argue that whether or how the Anthropocene continues matters more than when it began. Following Bai et al. I claim that, the true significance of the Anthropocene concept lays in how it can be used to guide attitudes, choices, policies and actions that influence the future. To achieve this goal while simultaneously settling the debate of its timing, I suggest a four-stage Anthropocene: 1) The early Anthropocene, which began 5000-14 000 years ago with the domestication of animals or the beginning of large-scale agriculture. 2) The first acceleration phase of the Anthropocene beginning with large-scale burning of coal at the time of the Industrial Revolution. 3) The post-1950 Great Acceleration. 4) And finally the good or the bad Anthropocene depending on human action.

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Why is it important?

We need hope inspiring stories about human agency in the Anthropocene to counteract the prevailing stories of doom and gloom that feeds apathy. This one provides some hope by presenting a dual picture of humankind capable of both good and bad.

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This a first installation of my project to find a Good Anthropocene building upon my earlier research. https://www.researchgate.net/project/Making-a-Good-Anthropocene

Dr Jan Kunnas
European University Institute

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This page is a summary of: Storytelling: From the early Anthropocene to the good or the bad Anthropocene, The Anthropocene Review, August 2017, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/2053019617725538.
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