By Jason W. Moore (ed.)
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Extra info for Anthropocene or Capitalocene?: Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism
Nonhuman existence and freedom—and Earth’s very art of Life-making— are menaced by the human enterprise itself, whose potential to emerge relatively unscathed from its civilizational game of Russian roulette will only leave humanity stranded on a planet once rich in Life turned into a satellite of resources. . were to survive at the expense of many plant and animal species, it would be no victory” (1974, 103, emphasis added). Philosopher Edmund Burke observed that the power of words is to “have an opportunity of making a deep impression and taking root in the mind” (1958, 173).
The term “human enterprise” is used in publications on the Anthropocene to characterize the trajectory of human development from the hunter-gatherer phase through the industrial revolution, to the post–Second World War period of the “Great Acceleration” into the present time. Sometimes “human enterprise” is used multiple times in a single publication (for example, at least fourteen times in Steffen et al. 2011a). To my knowledge “the human enterprise” is never defined, allowing for the cultural meaning (encouraged also by its hint of Star Trek) of history as unfolding progress to be readable in the term.
10 I use “Life” (capital L) as shorthand for the interdependent arising of biological diversity, ecological complexity, evolutionary potential, and variety of minds that occurs in terrestrial and marine wildernesses. By “wilderness” I do not refer to the spurious sense of untouched, pristine spaces, but to large-scale natural areas off-limits to excessive interference by civilized people, areas in 30 ON THE P OVERT Y OF OUR NOMENCLATURE 11 12 13 14 which diversity, complexity, speciation, and the wild and free lives of nonhumans may not only exist but flourish, and where humans—far from being in charge—can still end up being some other being’s lunch.
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