10.1 Urgency in the Anthropocene

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 10:30 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Amanda H. Lynch, Brown Univ., Providence, RI; and S. Veland

Global processes of environmental change, and our responses to them, can be understood as a domain of urgency. This talk examines the interplay between the new and ostensibly global state of urgency, and the means by which this urgency is identified and dealt with. The impacts of global change often arise from extreme weather events – from heat wave to drought, from ice storm to typhoon – which in turn confront human activities and values. The science discourse treats the attribution of extreme weather to anthropogenic climate change as ambiguous. Yet the public discourse often treats this attribution as unequivocal, relying on discursive elements such as "a state of exception" and "the new normal”. These discursive elements reveal underlying myths; for example, the Anthropocene myth in the science discourse symbolizes a transformative state of exception on geological timescales. Here, we argue that myths, often unacknowledged, constrain or embolden proposals for policy alternatives, and often accompany calls for precipitous – that is, urgent – governance responses.
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