Plenary session 1


Keynote speaker: Jamie Lorimer

Jamie Lorimer is Professor of Environmental Geography. His research explores public understandings of nature and how these come to shape environmental governance. Past projects have explored the histories, politics and cultures of wildlife conservation ranging across scales from elephants to the microbiome. Jamie is the author of Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature (Minnesota, 2015) and The Probiotic Planet: Using Life to Manage Life (Minnesota, 2020). His current research explores transitions in agriculture in the context of growing concerns about the relationships between farming, biodiversity loss and global heating.

The Anthropocene and the Anthropause

This talk introduces the Anthropocene proposal, offering a brief tour through the science, before reflecting on the wider cultural reception of this idea. I show how the Anthropocene helpfully captures the environmental zeitgeist, serving as a unifying concept to tie together disparate anxieties about the state of the world. I disentangle the prevalent responses to the Anthropocene proposal amongst planners and policy makers―mapping a typology that ranges between the catastrophic and the techno-optimistic. In conclusion I tie this analysis to the ‘Anthropause’ caused by the pandemic, in which many peoples’ lives have been slowed down, space and time have been extended, and many have been forced to stop and think critically about the great acceleration that defines modern life.

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