Reply To: Mon 17 Feb: World Systems, History and Ecology

Author Replies
Sanna Karlsson # Posted on February 19, 2014 at 14:04

Reply to Nik Petek:

I really liked your reflection and the things you came up with. Your point of view in that we human beings tend to see ourselves in the light of being ”on top of nature” is one that I take as well. Of course that is not to say we are completely separated from nature and that is important to understand. The view of not being separated from nature is more inclined with the concept of ”world-ecology”. However, there is no other species who take advantage and dominion over nature as does us humans and therefore the concept of Anthropocene is to me relevant.
I could believe that Moore was reacting to a standardized version of the Anthropocene, like you mentioned resonates better with the early studies done in the field. You did not clearly give a description of the way in which the later studies of the Anthropocene differs from the earlier ones, but I would assume you mean they do not separate humans and nature as completely as the other ones. If this is the case, it would have been interesting to see what stand Moore takes on these latter studies. To syntesize the two and take on a more holistic approach could probably lead to greater understanding, and possibly faster action against the climate change/the wrong relationship between humans and nature than working with one or the other one of them.
I also agree with your point that in Moore´s stance it seems as if humanity is passive actors throughout history. You also described that Moore almost seem to set capitalism as the problem. In one way, I do not agree with you on this since I believe he tried to shift from capitalism as being the problem to ”capitalism as word-ecology ” as being the problem. On the other hand I do agree with you since he thus argues that we are dialectically bound to nature, but that we at the same time have to revaluate this relationship to nature since we see ourselves as being ”on top of it” (in this way not being passive actors/not the fault of capitalism). The last part sounds very much like the Anthropocene to me – that we have to acknowledge that we currently have that relationship to nature.
Maybe then what some speakers for the Anthropocene miss – and Moore does not – is how we can explain the rightful relationship we should have with nature instead, being oikeios, world-ecology. Moore has a gives us a good vocabulary around it. To keep a perspective both on the separation and the unification of the human and extra-human relationship is in this way I believe equally important, that is, the Anthropocene and world-ecology. As such, I share your opinion on how the two perspectives can learn from and benefit each other. Only by understanding the complexity of the picture can one deal with it easier. Lastly, I do believe Moore has an important point in speaking of capitalism in relation to the environment, which not all environmentalists tend to do, and in effect, adds on essential capitalistic aspects to the debates on environmental issues.