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Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene

Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene
Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene
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.
1540-9295
441-448
Bennett, Elena M.
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Solan, Martin
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Biggs, Reinette
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McPhearson, Timon
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Norström, Albert V.
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Olsson, Per
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Pereira, Laura
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Peterson, Garry D.
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Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara
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Biermann, Frank
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Carpenter, Stephen R.
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Ellis, Erle C.
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Hichert, Tanja
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Galaz, Victor
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Lahsen, Myanna
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Milkoreit, Manjana
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Martin López, Berta
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Nicholas, Kimberly A.
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Preiser, Rika
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Vince, Gaia
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Vervoort, Joost M.
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Xu, Jianchu
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Bennett, Elena M.
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Solan, Martin
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Biggs, Reinette
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McPhearson, Timon
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Norström, Albert V.
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Olsson, Per
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Pereira, Laura
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Peterson, Garry D.
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Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara
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Biermann, Frank
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Carpenter, Stephen R.
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Ellis, Erle C.
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Hichert, Tanja
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Galaz, Victor
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Lahsen, Myanna
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Milkoreit, Manjana
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Martin López, Berta
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Nicholas, Kimberly A.
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Preiser, Rika
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Vince, Gaia
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Vervoort, Joost M.
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Xu, Jianchu
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Bennett, Elena M., Solan, Martin, Biggs, Reinette, McPhearson, Timon, Norström, Albert V., Olsson, Per, Pereira, Laura, Peterson, Garry D., Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara, Biermann, Frank, Carpenter, Stephen R., Ellis, Erle C., Hichert, Tanja, Galaz, Victor, Lahsen, Myanna, Milkoreit, Manjana, Martin López, Berta, Nicholas, Kimberly A., Preiser, Rika, Vince, Gaia, Vervoort, Joost M. and Xu, Jianchu (2016) Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14 (8), 441-448. (doi:10.1002/fee.1309).

Record type: Article

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 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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Accepted/In Press date: 22 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 October 2016
Published date: 3 October 2016
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 401154
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401154
ISSN: 1540-9295
PURE UUID: ba797adf-4ead-4ed5-8867-4eb1bf51499c
ORCID for Martin Solan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9924-5574

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2016 09:15
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:43

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Contributors

Author: Elena M. Bennett
Author: Martin Solan ORCID iD
Author: Reinette Biggs
Author: Timon McPhearson
Author: Albert V. Norström
Author: Per Olsson
Author: Laura Pereira
Author: Garry D. Peterson
Author: Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne
Author: Frank Biermann
Author: Stephen R. Carpenter
Author: Erle C. Ellis
Author: Tanja Hichert
Author: Victor Galaz
Author: Myanna Lahsen
Author: Manjana Milkoreit
Author: Berta Martin López
Author: Kimberly A. Nicholas
Author: Rika Preiser
Author: Gaia Vince
Author: Joost M. Vervoort
Author: Jianchu Xu

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