the impossible gaze of the ecological subject

Alex Murdin


We are now living in the Athropocene. This informal term, coined in 2000 by Paul Crutzen is now common currency amongst scientists and describes the current time period in the geological scale where humankind has acquired the status of geological agent in the scale of its interventions. Some are sceptical but in environmental terms the impacts are demonstrable, melting ice caps, sea level rise, acidic oceans and increased extinction rates -the current extinction rate is the 6th largest ever (Zalasiewicz et al, 2010: p. 2228-9). These are threats to the survival of at least some or quite probably all of humankind; hence the rise of environmentalism as a political movement from the mid-20th century onwards. The environmental movement covers a broad range of issues and positions but can be characterised by two poles of thought.


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