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Lecture series: What is the Anthropocene?

Everybody is welcome to join this open lecture series in autumn 2023, which explores the current academic debate on this new epoch from different angles. It is organised by the first VU Distinguished Fellow of the Anthropocene, Dr Sjoerd J. Kluiving, in collaboration with the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute.

During the lecture series 'What is the Anthropocene? - Exploring transdisciplinary collaboration for sustainable change', speakers and participants will discuss how interdisciplinary research can contribute to challenges of the planetary poly crisis that are part of what scientists are debating is the Anthropocene. Each lecture consists of two expert presentations which will be followed by discussion and is open to anyone at VU and beyond.

In addition, transdisciplinary workshops on the road to the COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, are organised, you can find them here. During these workshops, stories for the days of COP28 will be developed by connecting science, human health, art and activism; the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates; the Global North and Global South. 

All events and the Fellowship of the Anthropocene are coordinated by the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute, all events are free and open to anyone interested.

Anthropocene lectures

  • What is the Anthropocene?

    5 September 2023, 18.00-19.30

    The Anthropocene is a new time period in which we humans currently live, although discussions are still going on delivering sometimes fierce debates among scientists. What is the Anthropocene? Is it a new time unit for humanity on Earth? Mere than geological questions of time boundaries, Golden Spikes and how to measure those, it is apparent that most other academic branches have discussed and/or embraced the term, signifying that the Anthropocene forms a multi-disciplinary arena of global to local challenges and problems that relate to the 17 UN SDGs.

    With Kim Cohen (Universiteit Utrecht) and Sjoerd Kluiving (VU Amsterdam)

    More information and registration here.

  • Transition pathways in the Anthropocene

    19 September 2023, 18.00-19.30

    What are the transition pathways that will take us out of those unsustainable trajectories (e.g. climate change) that are currently filling the (inter)national news media on a daily basis? Transitions in society may have longtime duration, such as the abandonment of smoking, while the current planetary urgencies require (much) faster progress along different pathways.

    With Mathieu Blondeel, Kristiaan Kok and Sjoerd Kluiving (all VU Amsterdam)

    More information and registration here.

  • Biodiversity and landscapes in the Anthropocene

    2 October 2023, 18.00-19.30

    Nature is in a bad condition and is currently 5-0 down. Biodiversity losses have been growing disproportionally over the past decades, a lot is currently being debated on national to continental scales regarding a reform of farming as well as urgent restoration of nature. For example, what is sustainable landscape management and how can food security be in harmony with flourishing nature?

    With Louise Vet (WUR, Deltaplan Biodiversiteit), Niels Debonne (VU Amsterdam) and Matty Berg (VU Amsterdam)

    More information and registration here.

  • Inequality and colonialism in the Anthropocene

    17 October 2023, 18.00-19.30

    Inequality is becoming the most important urgency of the 21st century and is rooted in colonial histories. Gross atrocities against humans that took place are gradually evaluated more and more. Victims of past wars and genocides still reflect on existing inequalities that also are exemplified by a growing number of climate refugees, especially when coming from post-colonial areas.

    With Pepijn Brandon (VU Amsterdam)

    More information and registration here.

  • Health and justice in the Anthropocene

    31 October 2023, 18.00-19.30

    What is the relationship between health, ethics and law in the Anthropocene, and how do these three academic domains collaborate to achieve an improved understanding? What effect do human rights have on a healthy and safe environment? Knowledge about law, research integrity and ethical reflection skills are essential for studying human health in the Anthropocene.

    With Petra Verdonk (Amsterdam UMC) and David Rossati, VU Amsterdam

    More information and registration here.

  • New economy in the Anthropocene

    14 November 2023, 18.00-19.30

    The society of the Anthropocene will move forward along the pathway of the current economy of which we can question whether it is causing or solving the poly crisis of the Anthropocene. In this final lecture series alternative economy scenarios are presented, such as regenerative, circular and degrowth economies that will be compared and discussed with the neoliberal capitalist system that is (still) governing our economy today.

    With Maarten Nijman (Our New Economy)

    More information and registration here.

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