Arctic Horizons Workshop Keynote Presentation

Arctic Horizons Workshop Keynote Presentation, Sunday, February 7 at 7 pm.
Student Rec Center (ASRC-001)

The Anthropocene in the North: Prospects, Potentials, and Threats
Thomas McGovern (Hunter College CUNY)

The Anthropocene concept is now widespread, controversial, and increasingly seen as providing conceptual space for collaboration among disciplines and communities concerned about human impacts on environment and resources.  Creating scenarios for resilient and effective responses to environmental and social changes in human dominated ecosystems will require a far wider knowledge base than often employed by current planners.  Many have called for an expansion of the horizons of current sustainability planning to encompass knowledge systems outside of academia, to connect disciplinary silos, and to engage with the “completed long term human ecodynamics experiments of the past”.  This presentation draws upon recent results of the “Comparative Island Ecodynamics Project” of the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization cooperative ( from the Faroe Islands and Iceland to document long term human – animal- landscape interactions in the paleoanthropocene  of the Viking Age and medieval periods.  These cases illustrate both near miss failures and well documented success stories of sustainable resource use on the millennial scale.  The circumpolar north can and should play a major part in debates about the Anthropocene and to interdisciplinary efforts to craft a more sustainable global future, but there are growing threats to heritage and the basic scientific record that require urgent community response.  The NSF Arctic Social Sciences Program has already made major contributions to the investigation of the Anthropocene in the north, and it will be a key element in national and international responses to global environmental change.

For more information about the Arctic Horizons project, head to our webpage:


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