For too long, environmentalists and environmental scientists have portrayed humanity as the problem and nature as the solution. If only humans would just stop their destruction, “nature” would save the day. Yet scientific evidence shows that virtually all of earth’s ecosystems, at least on land, have been permanently altered by humans long ago. Nature is now embedded within human systems. Nature is not a wild thing “out there”, but a close friend, our family, right here.
We need a postnatural environmentalism that is in tune with the true state of our planet and the breakthrough vision that environmentalism must be about building a positive future for humanity – a far more inspiring, collaborative, realistic and sustainable process than trying to “save nature”. Postnaturalism is about embracing our human-created nature and loving it just as much as the wild nature that we have influenced the least. Nature is not going to solve our problems. The fate of the biosphere and all of its inhabitants is in our hands. Postnaturalism is about managing earth better, not about leaving it alone. It is no longer meaningful to try to stop human influence on our planet- to do so would abdicate responsibility for the biosphere we have created.
- A first essay on postnaturalism: op-ed at Wired by Erle Ellis– “Stop trying to save the planet“.
- Response to criticisms of the op-ed: Save the planet? From who?
- An original unedited version of the Wired piece: “Nature doesn’t matter anymore“
- My video post on Postnaturalism
- A blog post on my op-ed at the Breakthrough Institute: Postnaturalism, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Human Nature (courtesy Wayback machine)
- About the human biosphere
- On the postnatural paradigm and the responsibilities of Earth and environmental scientists in the Anthropocene
- Article in EOS: Ellis, E. C. and P. K. Haff. 2009. Earth Science in the Anthropocene: New Epoch, New Paradigm, New Responsibilities. EOS Transactions 90:473. <download pdf>
- Related blog post: On Doctoring the Planet
- Wired blog post: Should Earth Scientists Take a “Hippocratic Oath”?