Prof. Simon Cottle  On Nature, Crisis and Hope


NEXT MEETING ON-LINE VIA ZOOM at 7:30pm on 17th May 2022


We are all intimately involved in the world of nature; our lives depend on it. And yet, today, the world it seems is in peril because our relationship to nature is breaking down. This talk first briefly sets out some of the rapidly accumulating evidence that points to a 'world-in-crisis' and which underpins projections of probable 'civilizational collapse,' before exploring the possibilities of 'hope' and where and how this may still be found. The etymology of 'apocalypse' tells us that its original meaning does not simply refer to a cataclysmic event such as the end of the world, but also to a momentous uncovering, disclosure or revelation of some deeper truth. Philosophers, including Hegel, have sometimes remarked, 'The owl of Minerva only takes flight at dusk.' Perhaps there is something of this in the 'enforced enlightenment' of a world-in-crisis and today's 'civilizational community of fate' (Beck 2009), and in the rise (or return) of ecological consciousness in a time of impending civilizational collapse? As well as thinking beyond ideas of the Anthropocene and Capitalocene to the Symbiocene, we consider the widespread 'existential aversion' or denial and disavowal of today's planetary emergency in the world of journalism and, surprisingly, some parts of academia, before considering various formulations of hope amidst the dark telos of despair

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