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Are We in Anthropocene or in Asophanthropocene?


It is said that we may have reached the sixth stage of massive extinction. This one is said to be caused by human beings, which explains why it is called ‘anthropocene’ (Anthropos meaning human being and cene means new, which relates to the new era on a geological term).

I wonder somehow if we should really call this era in such a way. Indeed, I believe there is an amalgamation by using this term. Are all human beings against the environment and directly responsible for this massive extinction? I would say no. Probably a lot of human beings have a good impact on it and work for its preservation. The main issue is that the economy drives a lot of decisions which are made without considering the impact on the natural ecosystems. This takes place against the will of millions of people who do care about animals and nature. Human beings are a threat to the nature when we study it as a whole. The “human system” is governed by non-ecofriendly institutions, even though most human beings want to preserve the planet and keep it safe for the next generations.

This been said, I would recommend to use another term (Asophanthropocene) which means literally: “the new era of unwise men”. Indeed, we are somehow in a dark age when it comes to natural sensitivities. Past people were much more aware of the importance of the preservation of the environment. Native Americans, Aborigines of Australia for example were able to preserve their land and keep it sacred. Unfortunately, their lands were colonized by people whose ideology was much related to predation rather than harmony*. Obviously, Neolithic societies were not ideal, people used to die at a much younger age, however they were able to cultivate a certain degree of harmony by consecrating nature. The main issue is mankind is mainly governed by anthropocentric ideology (monotheisms, capitalism, socialism etc.). It is almost impossible to respect nature if you think man is at the center of the cosmos and he is superior to any other creature by essence. To preserve nature, we must shift our mindset to ideologies that do not promote hierarchy between beings. Such school of thoughts could be antispeciesism, animism* or Jainism. By adopting these ideologies we may not solve all our problems but we could address more efficiently the environmental crisis.

*The native people of America and Australia were not superior in a moral sense, but by being animist for most of them, they were able to take into account the sensitiveness of nature.

*Animism (according to Cambridge Dictionay): the belief that all natural things, such as plants, animals, rocks, and thunder, have spirits and can influence human events

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