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Wiser than the Vikings?
Redefining sustainability in the Anthropocene

Anne Snick, Club of Rome – EU Chapter

Scientists today agree humans have an impact on Earth’s biophysical processes; hence they call our era the Anthropocene. There is some debate on the exact geological implications of the term and on the moral value of giving an anthropocentric name to a geological era (Crist, 2019), but here we use it to highlight the responsibility of humans for the state of the Earth ecosystem and the life depending on it. Human agency now takes us into a landscape unprecedented in human history: extreme levels of atmospheric CO2, species loss at a much faster rate than natural, acidification and plastic pollution of oceans, etc. Sustainability science is conceived as a response to those challenges. The question is whether – or under what conditions – the concept and science of sustainability can help us to achieve the necessary corrections in due time.