The term anthropogenic takes its meaning from an implied contrast to an idealist notion of nature as separate from humans and endowed with a timeless or cyclical equilibrium. In recent decades, however, scientists have concluded that human influences now dominate nature at global and geological scales, reflected in the contention that Earth has entered a new epoch called the Anthropocene. Anthropogenic global warming is central to these developments, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change obligates the international community of nations to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Scientific debates surrounding anthropogenic impacts on the environment have a much longer history, however, revealing chronic empirical difficulties with the human-nature dualism combined with an inability to overcome it conceptually. Anthropologists have a key role to play in emerging transdisciplinary efforts to understand the anthropogenic across scales from the molecular to the global.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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