The Age of Loneliness
I’m looking into the various alternative names suggested for the Anthropocene. There are many views on whether or not that ‘official’ as-yet-unofficial name for our current planetary age is the right one, and why (not). One I’d forgotten summons the Age of Loneliness. It’s the suggestion of veteran biologist Edward O Wilson. Writing five years ago, he said: “Like the conquistadors who melted the Inca gold, [we] recognise that the great treasure must come to an end — and soon. That understanding creates the dilemma: will we stop the destruction for the sake of future generations, or go on changing the planet to our immediate needs? If the latter, planet Earth will enter a new era of its history, cheerfully called by some the Anthropocene, a time for and all about our one species alone. I prefer to call it the Eremocene, the Age of Loneliness.”
It’s a word I like for a reality that (understatement!) I don’t. Not least because it’s very far from just the human species that we (defining ‘we’ as our species, our dominant economic system, or just those of us most implicated in its creation) are condemning to this lonely, diversity-stripped future. What’s your Anthropocene-not-Anthropocene preference?