Publication Details

Castree, N. (2014). Geography and the Anthropocene II: Current contributions. Geography Compass, 8 (7), 450-463.


This and two companion papers (The Anthropocene and Geography I: The back story and The Anthropocene and Geography III: Future Directions) consider the relevance of 'the Anthropocene' to present and future research in Geography. Along with the concept of 'planetary boundaries', the idea that humanity has entered a new geological epoch of its own making is currently attracting considerable attention - both within and beyond the world of Earth surface science from whence both notions originate. This paper's predecessor detailed the invention and evolution of the two scientific neologisms, ending with a general discussion of their potential relevance to Geography. The present essay examines how that relevance is being actualised in practice. Though the Anthropocene and planetary boundaries concepts are the progeny of certain biophysical scientists, some human geographers are already going beyond the science to explore their socio-ecological implications. Accordingly, the paper describes how various physical, environmental and human geographers have thus far examined the (supposed) end of the Holocene. By detailing the full range of geographers' discussions of the two ideas, it comprehensively maps intellectual territory that a (so-far select) group of geographers have been exploring independently of each other, albeit layered on previous research into global environmental change. Its successor (The Anthropocene and geography III: Future directions) speculates about the future directions geographers' discussions of the Anthropocene and planetary boundaries might take.



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