A good Anthropocene

For purists, we live in  the Holocene epoch which began 12,000 to years ago at the end of the Paleolithic ice age. An epoch is defined by the singular agent that affects planetary geobiochemical processes, like climate. The Holocene witnessed the rise of humanity, civilization and globalization and the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming from human enterprise.

There is debate, and there are other names, but Bank of Nature is a reflection of the Anthopocene epoch — that time in geologic history when human society is large enough to be the defining change agent at scale for  planetary processes.

As evidenced by extreme weather, migrating disease and rising seas, human-accelerated climate change makes us the defining force in nature today. The climate crisis is linked to other global pandemics of our own invention. Conventional thinking casts this time as an existential threat of the human species in planetary history. Conventional thinking says Anthropocene spells doom — and it’s hard to argue.

However, what if our efforts were focussed on a good Anthropocene?

Bank of Nature counts itself among proponents that we must explore a good Anthropocene because in defaulting to a bad epoch of human destruction seems like a lack of imagination, innovation and ingenuity. That’s just not the ancient human excellence progress narrative.

In more primitive human societies, people lived as if we were small and nature was vast. Nothing we did could have a meaningful affect on nature.

In our more modern human societies, we cling to the old ideas that nature is vast, when we know it is finite. That outmoded perspective on how we live within nature has led to abuses of nature — biodiversity loss, deforestation and desertification and human dignity. We are now live in overshoot, taking more from nature than it can regenerate on its own.

This is Anthropcentrism at work, in which humanity is more important than even the wellspring that gives humanity life.  Anthropentrism is the arrogance of an extractive society abusing nature and changing the unique geobiochemical processes that allow us to breath. Growth at all costs = The Anthropocene.

Until now, well actually a century ago, we believed that we could run our economies “by the numbers” without consideration of large-scale impacts like the quality of life for humans and non-humans and the down-the-line consequences of destructive decisions made today. As long as the growth metrics kept going up, that was success and, despite what we know about society’s choices, growth metrics are still our system-wide priorities.

Protestors, activists, advocates for climate… this people are legitimately afraid of the road toward a bad Anthropocene. What they are asking is for us to choose a good Anthropocene.  And, Bank of Nature is dedicated to ideas like endgame sustainability, climate hope and human dignity that can define a good Anthropocene.

Sufficiencey metrics. Quality of life metrics. Values vs. value priorities. Fiduciary finance. All of these replace quantified growth at all costs, with a more commonsense stewardship approach that seems beyond traditional government and industry tasked with managing the Anthropocene.

Bank of Nature speaks of the Anthropocene in inspiring tones, as a good time of humanity rising to meet the challenges of our changing times. We do that with a two-way human-nature economic partnerhsip led by the stewardship power of fiduciary ownership.

Thinking at scale

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