“Geologists in millions of years may look at the Anthropocene as a brown layer of sediments lost in the geological record,” Sulpis said. “It’s a bit mind blowing. So at the end of the day, when we do take a step back and contemplate these results, it becomes scary.”
A new conception of sovereignty vested in the Earth and asserting the pre-eminence of respect for all life and the integrity of the biosphere has become a necessity. Such a definition of Earth sovereignty as prior to and more fundamental than human agency would provide a basis on which to reframe all our doctrines of authority, justice and responsible governance.
But the key ingredients that are in short supply are the human factors: political will and the rapidly evolving norms and attitudes about climate change that can generate that will.
Some may look at the scope of the climate challenge and the obstructive power of the fossil fuel incumbency — with its deeply embedded infrastructure and its political clout around the world — and conclude that a change in people’s thinking won’t be enough. But changing norms and attitudes can move mountains. They are about a sense of what is acceptable, what is right, what is important, what we expect.
Major shifts in attitude and behavior have occurred time and again in the social and economic spheres.