Bright spots: seeds of a good AnthropoceneLeave a Comment
Bennett et al Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene. Frontiers in Ecology Environ 2016; 14(8): 441–448, doi:10.1002/fee.1309
- Existing global scenarios of possible futures are often based on highly simplified worldviews dominated by just a few driving forces and are therefore less nuanced than the real world tends to be
- Such scenarios may be improved and diversified by incorporating current examples of good practice, innovations, and experiments
- These initiatives or “seeds of a good Anthropocene” can also help us to understand the different components of a better future that people want, and to recognize the processes that lead to the emergence and growth of initiatives that fundamentally change human–environmental relationships
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.