This article argues that the Anthropocene is not simply a new geologic epoch; it is an opportunity to embrace a new ontology. In it, we can reconfigure our orientation to the material world. The current, dominant ontology casts humans as villains responsible for mass extinctions, polluted oceans, and climate change. This ontology reinforces a familiar binary—one in which humans are separate from and doing things to nature. Humans are ruining the planet, causing it to fundamentally change in ways that are not “natural” precisely because humans are the agent of change. This view is perhaps best described by environmentalist Bill McKibben in his book The End of Nature in which he argues that “nature” is no longer anywhere because humans (via climate change) are now everywhere.
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Melinda H. Benson,
New Materialism: An Ontology for the Anthropocene,
Nat. Resources J.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nrj/vol59/iss2/18