Public lecture | The need for new concepts in understanding and responding to our Earth crisis | with Dr. Glenn Albrecht | Friday May 28th, 10.00 -11.30 CET | registration required

Register for zoom link via email: tom.rowe@wur.nl

About Glenn

Glenn Albrecht is a transdisciplinary philosopher who is internationally renowned for coining the neologism ‘Solastalgia’ – a form of existential suffering experienced by those living in places subjected to physical desolation. You can read more about Glenn here and witness his attempts to create a new psychoterratic typology on his blog, Psychoterratica

Abstract

Language is of critical importance in defining the human-nature relationship. In the past, humans in particular places on Earth had cultures and nuances in language that were intimately tied to local geography, biodiversity and climate. As globalized development has colonized and dominated the world, these cultures and their languages have inexorably ‘disappeared’. There is now a ‘museum’ of the lost languages of the world where the concepts and the objects they described reside mainly in memory. In addition, some of the new concepts used to describe the possibility of a more harmonic human-nature relationship have been rendered meaningless or have been corrupted by forces determined to keep a risk-laden status quo.

Terms such as sustainability, sustainable development, resilience, ecology and regenerative have all been easily incorporated into the vortex of global development and rendered neutral as change agents. All the while this loss and appropriation has taken place, the world has continued to deteriorate into states not formerly experienced by humans. The science of the Earth is telling us that we are in crisis. The issue of global climate change, for one, is putting humans into circumstances they have never before experienced, so there is an urgent need for conceptual innovation.

As a result, I put the case that ‘we’, as diagnosticians of the state of the world, need to create new diagnostic conceptual tools to understand and respond to novel changes. It is in that spirit I have proposed novel additions to our language of the Earth, particularly our emotional concepts. Within a spectrum of responses from the Anthropocene to the Symbiocene, I have collated past terms and created new ones to create a psychoterratic typology. It is my hope that, empowered by these old and new terms, we will all be in a much better position to reject ‘our’ ecocidal past and create a symbiotic future.