Looking toward the future



Humans are transforming the landscape in which we live. This includes landscapes in all cases of the word, from the design landscape to the environmental landscape. An important issue regularly discussed in relation to the new age of the Anthropocene is that of climate change. Climate change is readily being directly linked to the impact that humans have on our environmental landscape.

The rising issue of climate change has arguable risen for the wrong reasons, however its mass-discussed presence is placing light on important issues of futurity. The whole idea of looking after the world in which we reside is becoming increasingly more important, with climate change as a running frontier for many of the environment based changes throughout the human landscape. The climate change debate, from whichever stance you take, has provided a platform for which people become informed and begin to think and discuss the impact, we as humans, are having on our own environments and how this will effect our future stay on planet earth. Bruno Latour makes connection between this issue and Alfonso Cuaron’s film Gravity, and James Cameron’s film Avatar. Where in both cases humans travel into space or other planets and only wish to return home again, the characters have ‘literally, been metamorphosed from a human to an Earthbound’, ultimately placing importance on the well being of the planet in which we live, where there is ‘no escape route except back on Earth’.

Anthropocene by definition is the current age in which humans have had the dominant influence on our environment and climate. This notion in discussion with climate change has effectively shocked the public into action in varying ways. The effect of humans and industrialisation can be seen, very distinctively, in many cities around the world. A visible sign of climate change, as apposed to rising sea levels and a whole in the ozone, which are scary but not seen as imminently dangerous, is that of air pollution in cities such as China (fig. 1 ).This very confronting and direct danger, often on show in the media is a huge example of the idea of Anthropocene.

The idea of science vs. politics in this matter, discussed in Bruno Latour’s Telling friends from foes in the time of the Anthropocene discuss this mismatch between fact and ideology – where we cannot make decisions on policy based on uncertain science (Latour B., 2013). He rightly discusses the fault in this method and the loop in which it creates for itself, living in a world were people are constantly working to approve and disprove science based on their own ideology’s. This in itself clouds the facts of climate change which can clearly be seen in the issue of air pollution, and is clearly human induced, with evidence.

This example shows the importance of the idea of the Anthropocene as a way of thinking about the future – that where the future is in our own hands and not that of anyone else or any other entity. This forward way of thinking needs to be utilized by the public in order to create a stable future.

Reference list:

Latour, B. 2013, ‘Telling friends from foes in the time of the Anthropocene‘ – Draft of a lecture prepared for “Thinking the Anthropocene”

Jason. 2013, Beijing air pollution exposes China’s health & environmental risks, Global Sherpa, 16th August 2014, <http://www.globalsherpa.org/china-air-pollution-health-environment>

Stromberg, J. 2013, What is the Anthropocene and are we in it?, Smithsonian Magazine, 16th August 2014, <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-is-the-anthropocene-and-are-we-in-it-164801414/?no-ist>

Kate Smith


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