The great challenges of the Anthropocene in debate

Debating the great and complex challenges of the Anthropocene era, the era in which we live, is the objective of a curatorial project launched by Gonçalo Santos and Ana Luísa Santos, researchers at the Center for Research in Anthropology and Health (CIAS), Faculty of Sciences and Technology at the University of Coimbra (FCTUC), in partnership with the Serralves Foundation and the Sci-Tech Asia research network, the Center for Functional Ecology – Science for People and the Planet and the FCTUC Department of Life Sciences.

The first initiative under this project is materialized in a cycle of six conferences and debates, called “Pluralizing the Anthropocene: Reimagining the Future of the Planet in the 21st Century”. Between February 15 and May 10, renowned experts will share important reflections on “our plural condition of living in a world full of uncertainties. This cycle will count on the presence of influential thinkers of the humanities and contemporary sciences committed to a more plural view of the world. Anthropocene and the great issues of resilience, adaptation, and the fight for environmental justice“, says Gonçalo Santos.

The cycle starts, on February 15th, between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm, with a lecture by Tim Ingold, one of the most respected contemporary anthropologists, who will address what he calls “the sustainability of everything”. For the sustainability of our economy to become a reality, we will have to think about sustainability that is not sustainable only for some species or some human populations. We will have to start thinking about the sustainability of the planet.

Contextualizing the curatorial project now launched on the Anthropocene, Gonçalo Santos observes that “the world in which we live is very different from the one in which our grandparents and great-grandparents grew up: warmer, drier, more polluted, more uncertain. The linear production system consumer society has brought many benefits to a significant number of people and populations worldwide but it has also led to unprecedented environmental devastation and has generated a climate change climate with worrying effects“.

Looking only at basic facts in Portugal, such as the reduction of general precipitation and the accelerated increase in temperature since the second world war, the most conservative forecasts are not at all optimistic, pointing to a significant increase in the number of fires and droughts in the coming years. The present decade – the third of the 21st century – will be decisive for us to start planning our future (and the future of our planet) a little better before it is too late and we have fallen into an environment of chaos and confusion even more disturbing than than the one we are experiencing in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic“, highlights the FCTUC researcher.

The full program on the cycle “Pluralizing the Anthropocene: Reimagining the Future of the Planet in the 21st Century” is available at:


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