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Environment, risk and security: Life in the anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a new geological epoch defined by the transformative power of humans on the planet. Unmonitored carbon emissions, non-sustainable business practices and a host of other human activities have caused permanent changes to the earth’s surface, climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, resulting in the extinction of species, rising sea water levels, coastal erosion and severe weather systems.

Crucially, the Anthropocene signifies a distinct and irreversible rupture to the earth system. The profundity of this scientific fact has far-reaching consequences for social theorising and challenges deep-seated assumptions about our world and our place within it. If the physical reality that we occupy has radically altered, then we must also reconsider how we ought to live in the Anthropocene.

This course examines some emerging debates on the Anthropocene with a specific focus on security in an increasingly complex world of risk.

  • How, it is asked, does our understanding of security and risk change when faced with the possibility of human extinction and what ethical guidelines can we adhere to or reject?
  • What might a post-human analysis of security and risk in the Anthropocene look like?
  • How can the practice, politics and ethics of the Anthropocene incorporate non-human and nature perspectives?

Teacher

Dr. Simon Hollis is Senior Lecturer of Political Science with a focus on crisis management and international cooperation. His research interests and publications span local and global issues related to disaster resilience, disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

Notable publications include Disaster Risk Reduction in the Pacific and Caribbean Islands: The promise of Resilience (2020), and The Role of Regional Organizations in Disaster Risk Management: A strategy for global resilience (2015).

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