--By Elena Bennett, associate professor at the McGill School of Environment and
Department of Natural Resource Sciences in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Canada.
Bennett and colleagues' Concepts and Questions article "Bright Spots: Seeds of
a Good Anthropocene" appeared in the October 2016 issue of ESA Frontiers.
We are constantly being bombarded with negative visions of the future, which
may inhibit our ability to move towards a positive future for the Earth and
My coauthors and I are soliciting, exploring, and developing positive visions
of futures that are plausible, socially and ecologically desirable, just, and
sustainable. We develop these visions of "Good Anthropocenes" starting with
'bright spots' - real places that demonstrate one or more elements that might
serve as seeds of a better Anthropocene.
One example of a bright spot is the Health in Harmony project, which partners
with local communities in Indonesian Borneo to provide low-cost health care in
exchange for a commitment to reduce deforestation. Over the past 5 years,
they've seen a 68 percent decrease in illegal logging along with improvements
in health indicators in local communities. Through our project, we aim to
initiate wider global discussions about the kinds of futures people desire.
Bennett, E.M., M. Solan, R. Biggs, T. McPhearson, A. Norstrom, P. Olsson, L.
Pereira, G. D. Peterson, C. Raudsepp-Hearne, F. Beirmann, S. R. Carpenter, E.
Ellis, T. Hichert, V. Galaz, M. Lahsen, B. Martin-Lopez, K. A. Nicholas, R.
Preisser, G. Vince, J. Vervoort, and J. Xu. 2016. Bright Spots: Seeds of a Good
Anthropocene. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 14(8): 441-448.
To learn more, you can
- watch a talk about the project, or
- participate in a webinar on the 19th of October at 17h00 CEST.
- check out Bennett and colleagues' ESA Frontiers article