Recognition of Anthropocene

October 10, 2016
By Eduardo Viola

The following article is part of the SFG publication “Big Questions of Our time: The World Speaks”. To access the full publication please click here.


The greatest challenge of humanity in the 21st century is to deeply recognize that is living in a new geological era: the Anthropocene. 

The Holocene was the period of climate stability in which humanity developed; the Anthropocene is a new geological epoch in which climate stability was lost due to the scale and cumulative effects of economic development on the environment. 

The change is unprecedented. Guaranteeing a safe human existence requires mitigating climate instability; international cooperation is needed, but it must be based on a reformulated understanding of threat, security issues and national interest. 

This reformulated cooperation will allow the flourishing of post-sovereign global governance: a rational cooperative scheme in which responsibility for tackling a problem is proportional to the contribution to cause the problem; measures are undertaken and implemented according to players’ own interests and the interest of future generations. 

It is a difficult change and will have important impacts in geopolitics, but will update it to the complex and non-linear reality of the XXI Century.  

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