How will we live in the Anthropocene?

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How will we live in the Anthropocene?

Jonathan Drake

My entry expresses one of humanity's most pressing and challenging values. Namely, the value of striving to better understand - and come to terms with - our past, present and future existence within this precious planetary ecosystem that makes up life on Earth. This work specifically seeks to explore the complex interactions between cultural, literary traditions and the ecological future of our planet. As TS Eliot's 'The Wasteland' echoed a myriad of myths and traditions in an attempt to better understand the complex changing values of his time, 'The Afterland' echoes cultural traditions from Sappho's verse and Caedmon's Hymn to Shakespeare, Brecht, and Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias. All of this lyrically examines tension of values between humankind's cultural, artistic legacy, and our ultimate potential to destroy the environment around us. We are the only known species that has developed artistic, cultural values (producing works of such beauty and artistry as Shakespeare's sonnets etc.). Yet, at the same time we are the only sentient species that holds the power to bring about the extinction of ourselves and the wider ecosystems that surround us. My entry examines the dichotomy of values between the beauty and the horror that humans are capable of.

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