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Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management

Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management

Jan 4th, 2017

With Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management we wish to give a philosophical start to 2017.

Remember Riskope’s 2016 Season’s wishes?
Remember our chapter The Long shadow of Human generated geohazards: Risks and Crises in Geohazards Caused by Human Activity?

Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management

Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management

We recently read an interesting article . It was the trigger to present an integration of a prior posts discussing Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management.

When did the Anthropocene start?

The article starts stating that humans have applied their skills toward altering our surroundings and expanding our habitable domains for tens of thousands of years. They have produced many different environmental modifications proposed as markers of the Anthropocene’s beginning.

However, those definitions seem incomplete as many other species have done the same, from bacteria, to beavers and ants. Until now, the paper continues, those causing the modifications had no way of recognizing or even conceiving the global change.

Thus the author states that although we have been altering our planet for millennia there is now a major difference. Indeed,  now we have the means to understand the impact and scale of what we do. The author suggests the Anthropocene begins when we start to realize that it has begun. In fact that is valid only if we believe that beavers, ants, bacteria are/were not capable of that “social realization”.

Based on the reasoning above, the “true” Anthropocene is just now getting started.  The commonly defined Anthropocene was a preamble, when the alterations were unconscious.

The author concludes that “mature Anthropocene begins when we acquire the ability to live sustainability, and become a lasting presence on this world”. This epoch arrives with mass awareness of our role in changing the planet. This is what will allow us to transition from blundering through inadvertent global changes to thoughtfully and deliberately controlling our effects on the planet.

It starts with the end of our innocence”.

A new aeon: Sapiezoic

We can also see the beginning of mature Anthropocene, as suggested by the author, as the beginning of a new aeon. He names it Sapiezoic (from latin sapienza, wisdom). In the sapiezoic cognitive processes become a stable part of a planet’s functioning.
Thus we should discuss Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management simultaneously.

What has risk management to do with it?

There are four elements in the prior sections that link Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management. We should add resilience for completeness and the global understanding of the risk landscape surrounding human endeavors. Let’s discuss them one by one.

  1. Impact and scale of alterations. The evaluation of impact and scale of alterations, i.e. their consequences through systemic interdependencies is an integral part of 360-big picture multihazard risk assessment and correspond to a weakness of most risk assessments we review.
  2. Ability to live sustainably. The ability to live sustainably is linked to the capacity to evaluate voluntary and involuntary risks and establish reasonable tolerances to risk. The ability to live sustainably is also strongly linked to planning for resilience including building adaptive and robust structures while avoiding cognitive and behavioural biases.
  3. Transitioning from blundering through inadvertent global changes to thoughtfully and deliberately controlling our effects on the planet. The transition is subject to strong limitations if the risk landscape is not understood, is censored or biased through incomplete risk assessments.
  4. Ending of our innocence. In our recent season’s greetings we wished to us All for the coming year to be the tipping point toward more sincerity and transparency, when we see the real unknown –what neither we nor the others know–, shrink to its smallest expression. The time when the public arena, what we and others see and perceive, widens. Generally that occurs  at the expense of our blind-spots — what we cannot see, but others see. These objectives outline a very ethical and beneficial way of ending of our innocence, a way to ensure Anthropocene, Sapiezoic and Risk Management seamlessly integrate to deliver a more livable world.

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Category: Consequences, Crisis management, Risk analysis, Risk management

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