‘Good Anthropocene’ Website Highlights Bottom-Up Climate Solutions
A group of academics from Montreal, Stockholm, and Stellenbosch, South Africa has begun compiling the “bright spots” that show how people are taking community-based action to reverse practices that fuel climate change, while simultaneously addressing economic inequality.
The site points toward a counterweight to the drumbeat of alarming news on climate impacts that runs the risk of immobilizing people who are concerned about the issue, at just the moment when a wider groundswell of public interest is helping to turn the tide. (And, honestly, we couldn’t have imagined a better story to lead the !300th edition! of The Energy Mix.)
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“We are constantly bombarded with bad news about climate change and the state of the planet—to the point where problems can seem so great that we feel powerless to do anything about them,” Climate News Network notes. But so far, the Good Anthropocene website has received 500 and analysed 100 stories about “practical, community-based initiatives that enhance people’s health and well-being, while at the same time protecting their environment and benefiting the climate.”
The stories “range from an initiative in Indonesia, in which forest people are offered health care in exchange for conserving natural resources, to a not-for-profit company in the Netherlands manufacturing modular, easily repairable mobile phones.”
“I’m excited about this project because it represents a big shift for environmental scientists to start looking at things positively,” said lead author Dr. Elena Bennett of Montreal’s McGill University. “We tend to be very focused on problems, so to look at examples of the sustainable solutions that people are coming up with—and to move towards asking ‘What do the solutions have in common?—is a big change.”
She added that the site represents a deliberate step away from “the typical academic perspective of looking at things in a top-down way, where we the scientists determine the definitions.” Instead, “we have encouraged people who are involved in the projects to define what makes a project ‘good’—partly because we didn’t want to be driven by our northern European or North American sensibilities. We wanted to see a variety of ideas about what people want from the future.”