Liberalism in the Anthropocene

In the more innocent time before the pandemic, we already knew that we were living in an era with a new name. We had entered the Anthropocene — a new epoch in which the chief forces shaping nature are the work of our own species. Some date the dawn of the Anthropocene to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, others to 1945 and the detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While we may disagree about when this epoch began, we are beginning to understand, and not a moment too soon, its moral imperative. It requires that humans must assume responsibility for natural phenomena — the weather, sea levels, air quality, soil fertility, species survival, and viruses — that we once left in the hands of God or fate. This is a genuinely momentous alteration in our worldview. We have for centuries boasted of our mastery of nature, but the time has

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