"War, by creating a state of exception, has justified and encouraged a ‘brutalizing’ of relations between society and environment."
The excerpt below, from Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz's The Shock of the Anthropocene, looks at the environmental consequences of war.
Read our Welcome to the Anthropocene (climate change) reading list here.
In 1945, after visiting the ruins of Cologne, Solly Zuckerman, a zoologist and one of the founding fathers of British operational research, had the idea of writing an article on the environmental consequences of strategic bombing. In his memoirs, he explains that he abandoned this because the absolute desolation that he had witnessed ‘cried out for a more eloquent piece than I could ever have written’. Zuckerman had proposed to his publisher an intriguing title: The Natural History of Destruction.
"We already live in the Anthropocene, so let us get used to this ugly word and the reality that it names. It is our epoch and our condition. This geological epoch is the product of the last few hundred years of our history. The Anthropocene is the sign of our power, but also of our impotence. It is an Earth whose atmosphere has been damaged by the 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide we have spilled by burning coal and other fossil fuels. It is the impoverishment and artificializing of Earth’s living tissue, permeated by a host of new synthetic chemical molecules that will even affect our descendants. It is a warmer world with a higher risk of catastrophes, a reduced ice cover, higher sea-levels and a climate out of control." - Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene
2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Scientists have confirmed that the staggering growth of global emissions this past century has caused a definitive turning point in global climate history.
Some put forth that this climate predicament represents a new geological epoch of human origin, thus dubbing it as the “Anthropocene”. There is no doubt as to whether climate change is occurring. However, identifying the origins of this crisis presents great implications on deciding what to do next.
Take back the planet and understand what's really going on in these new and recently published (plus soon to come) books on the history and politics of the global climate crisis.
All of the books on our Anthropocene Reading List are 20% to 30% off (plus free shipping and bundled ebooks where available!)
As part of our series looking critically at climate change and the ongoing COP21 talks in Paris we have an exclusive extract from Andreas Malm's Fossil Capital. In it, Malm outlines his distinctive approach to the contemporary fossil economy by looking back to its contingent origins during the Industrial Revolution. It is only through this, Malm argues, that we can truly understand the crisis we are in today.