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Catastrophic ThinkingExtinction and the Value of Diversity from Darwin to the Anthropocene$
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David Sepkoski

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226348612

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226354613.001.0001

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Epilogue: Extinction in the Anthropocene

Epilogue: Extinction in the Anthropocene

(p.295) Epilogue: Extinction in the Anthropocene
Catastrophic Thinking

David Sepkoski

University of Chicago Press

The epilogue examines how the history of extinction imaginaries described in this book sheds light on current debates about the future of the global environment and the survival of the human race. The concept of the "Anthropocene"—which has been proposed as a new geological era that acknowledges the permanent impact of human beings on the environment—draws directly from the "catastrophic thinking" that became a feature of late-twentieth century extinction discourse. As both the continuation of previous extinction imaginaries and potentially the start of a new one, the Anthropocene challenges human society to reflect not just on its own potential impermanence, but also on the lasting imprint our species will have on the planet even after it is gone.

Keywords:   Anthropocene, human extinction, eschatology

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