Anthropocene panic! 
Matthew Buttacavoli (James Cook University)
Chancellery Building, A1-017
Friday 7 December, 13:45-15:15 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

In this age of environmental change and collapse, people around the world are entering a state of panic. This panel explores the causes, effects, and justifications for panicked action (or inaction). In a calm manner, we will probe the anthropology of Anthropocene panic!

Long Abstract

We are currently living in the age of the Anthropocene, where global systems are in flux primarily due to human activity. It is a time of both fear and hope for the future. The environment is changing in unpredictable ways and at unexpected rates. Apathy, denial, and politics have left many communities unprepared for these changes. Dying reefs, dwindling water supplies, and drowning islands have all caught governments off-guard. In many places around the world, we have been left in a state of Anthropocene panic.

This panel examines the role of panic during the current ecological crisis. Panic can inspire action or inaction; it can ignite a populous or discourage the citizenry. Panic in the face of environmental collapse can lead to innovation and the discovery of new sources of knowledge. It can also lead to foolhardy endeavours that only worsen the situation. The papers in the panel will explore how people around the world act (or do not act) through panic for our environmental future. Can panic make us care? How do we control panic and when does it run amok? Can we generate panic to do good? Can we relieve panic? Who has the right to panic? The presenters will challenge these questions as we unfold the nature of Anthropocene panic!

Accepted papers: