UVic in the Anthropocene

Photo Credit: Robert Ranisch, 2019 (Photo 1); Ray Troll (Photo 2).

The Anthropocene is a reality of which we are increasingly becoming aware. Together the combination of anthropogenic climate change, widespread environmental pollution, depletion of both renewable and non-renewable resources, species losses due to land use changes, and other human-driven ecological changes provide us ample evidence that humans are leaving an indelible imprint on our planet.

The idea of the ‘Epoch of the Anthropocene’ is that humanity is transforming the planet in profound ways, thereby generating new and unprecedented hardships for communities and societies as well as for non-human beings around the world. How to apportion blame for these problematic, usually unintended though often foreseeable, consequences of human activities may be debatable.

It remains a fact, however, that it is the younger and future generations who will be most affected by these changes in the conditions of life on Earth. This calls on all of us to develop new ways of creating the means for healthy living that mitigates our impact on the globe and helps populations adapt to the changes that are inevitable.

UVic in the Anthropocene is a working group on campus that aims to engage the University and the wider community in addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene in new, creative and effective ways. Our group is supported by the Centre for Global Studies and the School of Public Administration, and aims to engage faculty, students and staff from across campus and the university’s diverse disciplines, as well as the wider community.

To date, UVic in the Anthropocene has organised or co-sponsored the following events on campus:

  • 2016 – Two university/community forums on “Life in the Anthropocene: The challenge for us all”
  • 2017 – Ideafest event “The Anthropocene is here: Living well in a ‘one planet’ region”
  • 2019 – Ideafest event “Bike for the Climate” school visits
  • 2019 – Colloquium “Facing the Anthropocene with Alexander von Humboldt’s Views of Nature”

For further information on UVic in the Anthropocene, contact Professor Astrid Brousselle, Director of the School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, at anthropocene@uvic.ca.

One result of the activities of the UVic in the Anthropocene group is a series of monthly Conversations for a One Planet Region, which began in the Victoria region as part of the 2017 IdeaFest event to explore how to move to a “One Planet Way of Life”. These Conversations are proving to be of significant interest to community associations, environmental and social justice groups, local governments, faith organizations, green businesses, urban planners and architects, the arts and culture community, health professionals and many others.

The Conversations for a One Planet Region group presently is incorporating as a non-profit society and will be seeking funding to broaden and deepen its activities in the Victoria’s urban context. For further information on Conversations for a One Planet Region, contact Trevor Hancock at thancock@uvic.ca.  Events organized by this group are ongoing and can be followed here

Events and Calls for Action, supported by UVic in the Anthropocene but not necessarily organised by our group:

  • Community Climate Science Seminar on Eco-social Transition: Astrid Brousselle, Director and Professor, UVic School of Public Administrationspeaks on “Leading the way to an eco-social society”, Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM at the Halpern Centre for Graduate Students (GSC), Room 108. Summary: There are avenues to reconcile human and natural systems to build planetary health. The quandary of environmental sustainability—which encompasses climate change—is not unsolvable, but it will require that we transition to an eco-social society. Building on the field of public health and other disciplines, we will explore what would be the parameters to consider for an ecological transition. Refreshments provided.
  • Anthropocene Art and Poetry: Dr. William (Bill) Michael Zuk, Prof. Em., Art Education, University of Victoria, with afrose fatima ahmed (M.Ed.), Berkeley, CA are doing visual art, poetry and sculpture presentations through the lens of the Anthropocene at the MacLaurin Building, UVic, 1 November – 1 December, 2019. More info available here!
  • BC Government Old Growth Logging Policy: The Government of B.C. is doing an Old Growth Strategic Review, and inviting citizens to participate in a 5-minute survey, available here. 
UVic Anthropocene
Photo Credit: Lorenzo Magzul