Collective Responsibility in the Anthropocene

Yufeng Luo, University of Tartu

Introduction: Climate Change and Anthropocene

In the summer of 2021, two severe floods occurred at roughly the same time in southern Germany and Henan Province, China. Both caused by extreme precipitation, they have resulted in hundreds of deaths.[1] The similar catastrophic weather extremes witnessed on the two different ends of the Euro-Asian continent seem to be a great manifestation of how global climate change will eventually affect everyone no matter where they are located and whether they are wealthy or impoverished. To quote from the United Nations 75th Anniversary Report, “Disasters linked to climate and weather extremes have always been part of our Earth’s system. But they are becoming more frequent and intense as the world warms. No continent is left untouched, with heatwaves, droughts, typhoons, and hurricanes causing mass destruction around the world”.[2] In addition to the extreme weather, there are also other secondary disasters we need to worry about such as rising sea levels, water and food insecurity, and mass displacement. 

However, despite the presence of disturbing facts, such narratives seem no longer able to evoke sufficient empathy and mobilize people anymore. The narratives of global warming and its consequences have been circulated in various media, but people’s attitudes toward the possible solution to the current climate crisis are still highly contested on different levels. In terms of international cooperation, the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, is challenged by the insufficient commitment of certain countries. At the individual level, the widespread anti-environmentalism and emotional indifference to action have long been a problem and need to be addressed. 

As climate ethics researcher Mike Hulme well articulates: “Global warming and global cooling are physical phenomena. But the battle over these real or presumed developments is a cultural and social phenomenon”.[3] The scientific consensus on climate change is already limited, but the different perceptions and interpretations of this issue by different actors make a collective action even more impossible. The strategy that Hulme suggests is to maintain diversity and plurality in the dialogues regarding particular public actions even though the scientific discourse for climate change will possibly develop into a more universally accepted version. I agree with Hulme’s point that the measures against climate change should always be designed specifically. However, such a perspective for policymakers has not prevented philosophers from arguing about the need for a shared moral attitude in order to act collectively against the global crisis.

Before elucidating why collective responsibility should be the keyword and what the components of such an ethics are, it is necessary to introduce the concept of the Anthropocene. Since the atmospheric chemist Paul J. Crutzen and the limnologist Eugene F. Stoermer proposed to introduce the Anthropocene as a new geological era in 2000, this term has become an important reference point that challenged traditional ideas in different disciplines. Anthropocene is a proffered (but not yet officially accepted) geological epoch that highlights the unprecedented human capacity to affect the Earth’s geology and ecosystems. It arguably dates back to the 1950s when human actions started to be able to play a predominant role in the functioning of Earth as a planet. Regardless of the various debates around this term, Anthropocene underscores an essential fact that there is no longer purely “nature” and as Machin and Stehr point out: “…it is impossible to understand the ‘natural’ climate separately from social context. Human beings can hardly set themselves outside of the natural processes in which they are embedded; they are always both a part of and apart from their environments”.[4] We cannot separate any part of the earth system, be it geological evolution or climate change, from an understanding of human intervention anymore. The advent of the Anthropocene implies that in the present, in order to reach any understanding of nature, we have to come back to an understanding of the human being itself. 

Hence, the claim that we have entered the Anthropocene raises the following demand: in order to preserve life and humanity, humanity must search for a new ethics based on its reflection on the relationship between human beings and nature. At the end of the 1970s, Hans Jonas already set out to find such a new ethics, “an ethics able to cope with the extreme powers which we possess today and constantly increase and are almost compelled to wield”.[5] Half a century later, his project is even more relevant. A valid ethical foundation is needed to reconcile the ideological conflicts surrounding climate issues prior to any pragmatic policymaking.  

It is at this moment that we can ask why should a sense of collective responsibility be emphasized today. Even from the most practical perspective, the world threatened by the impending climate crisis cannot be saved without the cooperation of the human species as a whole. However, it is not easy to convince people with different interests that they ought to act together and save not only themselves but also distant others living in another community or generation.  Reaching a moral consensus is just as tricky as reaching any specific scientific agreement. Nevertheless, it is a task that must be accomplished, because only by building a sense of community and solidarity can we motivate people to keep combatting the climate crisis together. 

In this context, this essay aims to look for resources from the history of philosophy to construct a possible theoretical system of collective responsibility, which is expected to function as the new ethics in the Anthropocene.[6] It is argued that establishing such collective responsibility is the only way to lead human beings to cooperate against the ongoing climate crisis and thereby preserve our life and humanity, and it has to transcend the three boundaries of community, generation, and human-centered thinking. 

Collective Responsibility across Communities

Collective responsibility in the Anthropocene has to transcend three levels of limits, and this chapter is dedicated to the first one: the limit produced by the difference between communities. Through investigating the texts of Kant and Arendt, the following questions are addressed: What is the philosophical basis of this collective responsibility, and why should it be fulfilled by every individual on the globe, regardless of the community to which he or she belongs? 

With respect to Kant, I will focus on the text of Toward Perpetual Peace, principally the third definitive article and the first supplement. In this philosophical project meant to overcome war, Kant’s writing on cosmopolitan rights and universal hospitality are highly relevant to my concerns. Kant expounds on the third definitive article: “Since it is the surface of a sphere, they cannot scatter themselves on it without limit, but they must rather ultimately tolerate one another as neighbors, and originally no one has more of a right to be at a given place on earth than anyone else”.[7] As an individual, every human being simply occupies a place on this globe. In terms of this inhabitant right, we have nothing different from each other. We have the right to visit a place occupied by others and the obligation to host when they visit us. This is the basic idea of cosmopolitan right and universal hospitality that Kant proposes. First of all, I believe that this argument reminds readers of the possibility of building connections among humankind. Apparently, Kant does not assume that human beings are a naturally isolated and selfish species. There must exist a minimum condition in the personhood such as rationality that allows humankind to communicate and embrace one another, even if they are of different origins and have developed different lifestyles. Secondly, this argument displays Kant’s demand to foster peoples’ reciprocal knowledge, mutual caring, and cooperation in common affairs. In the first supplement, Kant argues that “the great artist nature” has dispersed humans to different corners of the world from the beginning of history: “By ensuring that human beings could live anywhere on earth, nature has also willed in a despotic fashion that they ought to live all over the earth, even against their own inclination, without any assumption that this ought implies a duty to do so in order to comply with a moral law”.[8] Here, nature as an equivalent to fate or providence, despotically leads human beings to inhabit inhospitable lands for the guarantee of perpetual peace. For in the process of competing for land and other resources, states, nations, and the rule of law will eventually emerge to save people from the endless wars of the natural state. Admittedly, perpetual peace is the normative goal in this Kantian text. I nevertheless contend that the argument presented above leads to the conclusion of collective environmental protection as well——as equal inhabitants of the Earth, we are obligated to take care of the land that we occupy and live on. Failure to protect the Earth will result in the loss of habitat and the harsher competition for resources. This does not only render the arrangement of nature futile, but also pushes perpetual peace further away from humanity. 

Hannah Arendt is another thinker who contributes to the idea of collective responsibility across communities. Based on her understanding of the mutual vulnerability of humanity and the Earth, and the dynamic between labor, work, and action, Arendt demonstrates the need for humanity’s collective efforts to protect the living environment.  

Arendt’s thinking about mutual vulnerability begins with her concern about the launch of the first artificial satellite in human history. In the prologue to The Human Condition, Arendt states that: “What I propose in the following is a reconsideration of the human condition from the vantage point of our newest experiences and our most recent fears”[9]. While the launch of Sputnik allows humans to imagine living far away from Earth, Arendt refuses to conceive of the planet as a prison from which we must escape. On the contrary, Arendt appreciates what the Earth has offered to humankind, and recognizes the planet as “the very quintessence of the human condition” since it is “unique in the universe in providing human beings with a habitat in which they can move and breathe without effort and without artifice”.[10] Along with Arendt’s gratitude for the material resources provided by the Earth, we can proceed to reflect on the common perception of the Earth as “world” rather than “nature” in the modern era, and the mutually vulnerable relationship between humans and the Earth. Nowadays, in a daily context, it is more common to think of people as dwelling in the world with others in the human community. In the context of climate change, however, it is important to draw attention to the fact that humans inhabit nature with other creatures. This distinction should be emphasized: “Whereas in the world we are each a unique, individual person, on the earth we are all simply members of the same species”.[11] Recognizing this dual perception of humanity’s role on the Earth helps us to understand the mutual vulnerability——Humans are capable of shaping the Earth as the unique creatures, but fundamentally we are conditioned by nature as a species. As Arendt’s interpreter Macready puts it: “Whether human beings are metabolizing nature through labor or transforming nature through work, or acting in concert with one another, human beings are conditioning the material world and being conditioned by it; they live in a contingent relationship with the earth, material things, and each other.” [12] The reason why men are conditioned beings is that “everything they come in contact with turns immediately into a condition of their existence…The impact of the world’s reality upon human existence is felt and received as a conditioning force”. [13] Arendt tries to remind readers of the fact that human beings are fragile and susceptible to the offering and changes of external situations, even though they are capable of constructing a world and thereby distinguishing themselves from other organisms. Nature exerts influence on human beings through the weather, topography, and vegetation from the very beginning of their existence, and will continue to do that until the end of human history. However, in the face of human activities, nature is fragile as well. The system that supports our preservation can be destroyed very quickly. In a deteriorating habitat, the ability of men to condition the external environment will soon prove to be limited, despite that the whole modern era is characterized by the conditioning progress of science and technology. Running away from the confinement of Earth by a spacecraft might be the most radical change we can ever make to the environment, “yet even these hypothetical wanderers from the earth would still be human…they still are conditioned beings, even though their condition is now self-made to a considerable extent”.[14] Arendt’s idea of mutual vulnerability is constructive for the theory of collective responsibility in the Anthropocene,  because it emphasizes environmental protection from a highly abstract and fundamental level as an issue for the whole human community, not just for any individual or subgroups. 

I argue that in the context of Arendt’s philosophy, the necessity of collective efforts for tackling climate change arises not only from the fact of mutual vulnerability, but also from the dynamics of the three basic categories of human condition: labor, work, and action. Reading The Human Condition with an environmental mindset, I interpret the relationships between labor, work, and action as follows. 

First, it is the combination of labor and work that causes the climate crisis nowadays. For Arendt, labor refers to the “activity submitted to vital necessities and to the care for individual and species survival” and work refers to “the fabrication of a man-made world of artifacts”.[15] Labor is about the repetitive natural cycle, and work is about the permanence and durability of artifacts. Although either of them can cause damage to nature, it is only the combination of the two that causes the global climate crisis that endangers the entire human species. Before the modern age, laboring was a primitive activity. Planting, hunting, and gathering were tolerable for nature and were justified by man’s need for physical survival. However, “the human species, once it obtained its world-creating capacity, has been on a path of increasing destructiveness of the natural environment within which worlds are created”.[16] Moreover, the combination of labor and work introduces mass production, which exponentially increases the inherent danger of labor. With the help of mass production, productivity exceeds the consumption capacity, and the surplus of products requires people to increase their consumption and makes them blind to the futility of labor. The vicious circle pushes people to seize more natural resources and cause more damage, and the balance between labor and nature in the pre-modern era no longer exists. 

Second, only action can save the environmental crisis created by labor and work. Action is a distinctive human activity. It is about setting things in motion and starting something new. It is crucial for every human being as it gives purpose and possibility to every life: “Without action, without the capacity to start something new and thus articulate the new beginning that comes into the world with the birth of each human being, the life of man, spent between birth and death, would indeed be doomed beyond salvation”.[17] As the irreducible condition of politics, action occupies the highest position among the three human activities. Compared with labor and work, action is the highest realization of vita activa. Vita activa, as “a life devoted to public-political matters”[18], is the core of the book, and action as the activity associated with the human political sphere is the core of vita activa. Action can be the antidote to the catastrophic result of labor and work due to its unpredictability, which means action can change the situation in an unexpected way no matter how serious the problem. This unpredictability comes from the two basic characteristics of action: plurality and natality. Plurality is derived from the undeniable uniqueness of every human being who has ever existed, and owing to this uniqueness, when an individual engages in the world through speech and action, there’s no guarantee of what will happen later. Natality is related to the unknown characteristics of the not-yet-beings, the newborns. Since each individual is different in action and speech, each human birth and each newborn’s engagement in the world through action and speech is unpredictable. Because of this unpredictability, action contains the seeds of real hope, even in the face of the climate crisis. 

Third, and most importantly, the concept of action itself implies two imperatives: everyone must act; everyone must act together. The public sphere is the only place where action takes place. In such a sphere, each member is both distinct and equal to the others. They are distinct because they act and speak in different ways and thereby produce different results; they are equal because the ability of men to communicate meaningfully with each other about their experiences is universal. The fact that men in the public sphere are both different and equal removes the excuse for rejecting action: even if other people fail in their actions, that does not mean that yours will not succeed. Moreover, action should not be singular, but collective. Action is about revealing the uniqueness of the subject (the potential of that subject to create something new), but this revelatory quality can only occur when people are together: “Action, as distinguished from fabrication, is never possible in isolation; to be isolated is to be deprived of the capacity to act…Action and speech are surrounded by and in constant contact with the web of the acts and words of other men”.[19] Acting together gives rise to the political realm through the sharing of words and deeds, and it is an inexhaustible source of power for human beings. At this step, it can be seen that action is a category that presupposes the togetherness, cooperation and solidarity of the whole human species, and it should be integrated into the solution of the climate crisis. 

From the analysis of Kant’s and Arendt’s texts in this chapter from the perspective of environmental thinking in the Anthropocene, it is concluded that both philosophers show support for an expanded sense of community in their writings. I argue that both of them would advocate a broadened horizon with which we can consider ourselves members of humanity rather than members of a particular region, nation-state, or continent in the struggle against climate change. While Kant’s idea is expressed in his conception of a globe of perpetual peace, Arendt conveys her concern in her discussion of the mutual vulnerability of humanity and nature, and the relations of labor, work, and action.

Collective Responsibility Throughout Time

Drawing on the theories of Arendt and Hans Jonas, this chapter explores why collective responsibility can and should transcend the boundary created by the gap between different generations and exist throughout time. 

Arendt argues that we live in a historical continuum through which we are connected to both our ancestors and our descendants. In Eichmann in Jerusalem, she writes that: “every government assumes political responsibility for the deeds and misdeeds of its predecessor and every nation for the deeds and misdeeds of the past…Every generation, by virtue of its being born into a historical continuum, is burdened by the sins of the fathers as it is blessed with the deeds of the ancestors”.[20] When we enter this world, we already inherit the traditions and legacies given to us by our ancestors, as well as their burdens. As human beings, it is impossible to live outside of the historical continuum, because the traditions we inherit are the symbols that characterize us as members of society.[21] In Arendt’s text, she is concerned with the political responsibility of German nationals and their descendants after World War II. However, this inherited responsibility should not fade away when considering climate issues. The people of each era, occupying a place in historical time, should ensure that humanity and traditions are not lost to the next generation with a crumbling earth.

Without relying on the abstract historical continuum, Jonas turns to a more relatable ethical model. In The Imperative of Responsibility, he asserts that “the timeless archetype of all responsibility” is “the parental (care) for the child”.[22] According to Jonas, this archetype of responsibility not only integrates the future into the scope of today, but also channels the private and public spheres. This model integrates the future into the scope of today because it is a one-way care that excludes the conditions of reciprocity. Newborns don’t ask for obligations from their parents, and parents are naturally obligated to care for their babies simply because the existential state of a newborn is vulnerable. As Jonas explained: “the newborn unites in himself the self-accrediting force of being already there and the demanding impotence of being-not-yet; the unconditioned end-in-itself of everything alive and the still-have-to-come of the faculties for securing this end. This need-to-become is an in-between, a suspension of helpless being over not-being, which must be bridged by another causality”.[23] Due to this becomingness, mortality, and corruptibility, “thus the ‘ought’ manifest in the infant enjoys indubitable evidence, concreteness, and urgency”.[24] Jonas’s model also channels the private and public sphere, as there can be an analogy between the parent-child relationship and the statesman-citizen relationship. To make politics work well, the politician must ensure not only the survival of his subjects but also the abundance and happiness of their life, just as parents should guarantee the bare existence as well as the sustainable development of their children. For political responsibility, “its compass makes it an analogue of parental responsibility”.[25] In addition, citizens will eventually outlive the statesman just like children will outlive their parents, but this does not stop statesmen and parents from offering care. 

Because of these two features, the parental care ethical model proposed by Jonas can be helpful in the climate crisis. First, it answers why we, as people living in the present, should care about the living conditions of people living hundreds of years from now: because there is a quasi-kinship between us. In other words, we are their distant parents. This belief is based on the most private relationship we ever have, and it gives ethical theory the power of emotion and thus can mobilize people to action. Second, by pointing out the similarity between parental and political responsibility, Jonas shows how a politician should think about climate issues. Not only the people who live in his term of office deserve a benign living environment, but also the citizens after he steps down. In conclusion, although not all parents or statesmen are responsible, and not everyone wants to be a parent, Jonas’s theory, from parental to political responsibility, from the private to the public sphere, provides a normative basis for collective responsibility towards future generations, with the requirements of totality and continuity that result from the fact of temporality and the potential of natality. Jonas informs us that although the future is unpredictable, we still have reason to care and to act.

Collective Responsibility and Planetary Ethics

Kant, Arendt, and Jonas each offer arguments about how human responsibility can transcend the limits of communities and time. But for ethics in the Anthropocene, this collective responsibility must also transcend the limit of anthropocentric temporality and thus be compatible with the essence of the Earth as a planet.

In his new book, The Climate of History in a Planetary Age, Dipesh Chakrabarty argues that “one way to think about the current crisis of anthropogenic climate change is to think of it as a problem of mismatched temporalities”.[26] There can be two temporalities when we think about climate issues: human-centered time and deep time. Human-centered time is what we are familiar with in our everyday lives, and it can be easily perceived and measured by tools such as clocks and watches. Based on this sense of time, plans and strategies are made in terms of years, decades, at most centuries. Deep time is used to measure geological evolution. Since a geological epoch can last millions of years, deep time is much longer and deeper than human-centered time. Deep time is very important for environmental thinking, but has long been ignored. It requires thinking in terms of thousands or even millions of years and will lead to a very different result in thinking.[27] What bridges the two temporalities is the unprecedented increase in human power in the modern era. As climate scientists have observed: “the human being has become something much larger than the simple biological agent that he or she always has been”.[28] It is worth noting that it was only very recently, after the Industrial Revolution, that humans acquired this identity as geological agents. It can be said that human and natural history have been integrated (human-centered time and geological time must be considered together) in very recent times. 

Derived from the recognition of two temporalities, Chakrabarty presents two general solutions to the contemporary climate crisis. The first is to act directly from the perspective of human-centered time and demand the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, almost all of the climate change policies being promoted today, such as changing transportation and promoting renewable energy, are derived from this kind of time thinking. Second, to design strategies from an Anthropocene perspective and to address the climate crisis as a planetary problem. The reason why we need to shift from human-centered time thinking to deep time thinking is that the former will inevitably entangle us in the historical injustice and imbalance of economic development caused by the history of industrialization and capitalism, when collective action is urgently needed to solve the climate crisis. While the history of capitalism is estimated to be at most five hundred years, the history of the Earth as a planet is more than 4.5 billion years. The current problem of climate change is an issue that should transcend the discussion of capitalism, but in today’s debates the urge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions always clashes with the conflicts that arise from it. Chakrabarty is well aware that issues such as capitalism and postcolonialism cannot be left out of the discussion of climate change, because if modernity is to be held accountable for the climate crisis, then the uneven patterns of modernization deserve attention when we think about this problem globally.[29] But these historical debts make it even harder to take action against the aggravated climate change. In this case, the use of deep time thinking raises our vision to a higher level and allows us to focus more on the damage we have done and the destiny we might have as a species, and thus to develop a responsibility for the Earth as a planet, namely a “planetary ethics”. 

However, deep time thinking can be dangerous because it may lead us into another dilemma of inaction due to human mortality. In the face of a complicated Earth system, humanity may not even be able to design a specific scheme centered on anthropocentric thinking and execute it on a time scale of millions of years. In response to this challenge, I argue that what Chakrabarty proposes is not a denial of pragmatic politics, but a perspective that does not see humans as the center of the Earth and human history as the culmination of the planet’s history. The ethics of the Anthropocene that he pursues is “a model of stewardship that is responsive and responsible to all life – human and otherwise, past and future”.[30] As Chakrabarty points out: “my point throughout this book has been that the human story can no longer be told from the perspective of the five hundred years (at most) of capitalism alone”.[31] Indeed, climate change is an issue that should transcend the scope of human-centered time (human history). It requires humanity to act as a whole community and, if necessary, to set aside considerations of short-term interests. Chakrabarty tries to remind us of human being’s role in our relationship with nature. Although humans can never become Prometheus in the biblical context, we must be responsible for the Earth as stewards on a time scale that accommodates the entire existence of humanity, because we have become the most influential agents in the evolution of this planet.


This essay is a philosophical project in search of an adequate ethics in the Anthropocene. First, it argues that a sense of collective responsibility that should be born and fulfilled by the whole human species is at the center of the theoretical construction. The article then goes on to explain why this collective responsibility should and how it can reach three levels in order to motivate people to act against climate change and to maintain a common commitment of humanity to address the climate crisis in the long term.  At the first level, as is informed by Kant and Arendt, this collective responsibility belongs to people from different communities. On the second level, as shown by Arendt and Jonas, it should and has the potential to be passed on between different generations. In the end, inspired by Chakrabarty’s proposal, collective responsibility in the Anthropocene should no longer be conceived in terms of human-centered time. Instead, the perspective of deep time must be adopted to guarantee an ethical model that is responsive to all life and all temporalities (namely, a planetary ethics). From what has been discussed above, the final conclusion is that only with the guidance of such a collective responsibility can we preserve life and humanity in the face of the climate crisis in the Anthropocene. It should not be denied that this proposed ethical prototype awaits theoretical refinement, and how to achieve the adoption of this collective responsibility worldwide will be the closely following challenge.


This article can be considered as a result of my first year MA study in Philosophy at the University of Tartu. I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Siobhan Kattago for her guidance as my academic supervisor, and for her generous help in reviewing the article and giving feedback. I am grateful to other fellow students in Tartu for their suggestions on my primitive ideas on the MA seminar. Special thanks go to the philosophy team of Tampere University for organizing the NordPhil 2022 conference, where I presented the shaped arguments for the first time. Finally, I am grateful to the Paatos team for the opportunity of publication and for their meticulous editing work.


Arendt, H. (1987) Collective Responsibility. In Amor Mundi, edited by Bernauer, J.W., pp. 43-50. Heidelberg: Springer. 

Arendt, H. (1998) The Human Condition (2nd edition.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Arendt, H. (2006) Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. London: Penguin Books.

Beijing Newsroom & Munroe, T. (2021) Death toll from floods in China’s Henan province rises to 302. Reuters. URL: Retrieved: 10.11.2022.

Chapman, A. (2007) The Ways that Nature Matters: The World and the Earth in the Thought of Hannah Arendt. Environmental Values 16 (4): 433-445.

Chakrabarty, D. (2021) The Climate of History in a Planetary Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Eddy, M. (2021) Hundreds Missing and Scores Dead as Raging Floods Strike Western Europe. The New York Times. URL: Retrieved: 10.11.2022

The Climate Crisis – A Race We Can Win URL: Retrieved: 10.11.2022

Hulme, M. (2015) (Still) Disagreeing about Climate Change: Which Way Forward? Zygon 50 (4): 893-905. 

Jonas, H. (1984) The imperative of responsibility: In search of an ethics for the technological age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kant, I. (2006) Toward Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch in Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History edited by Kleingeld, P., translated by Colclasure, D. L.. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Kattago, S. (2023) (Forthcoming) The Ethics of Heritage in a Fragile and Burning World. In Routledge Handbook of Heritage Ethics, edited by Andreas Pantazatos.

Macready, J.D. (2019) Everything is Fragile: Reading Arendt in the Anthropocene. URL: Retrieved: 15.11.2022

Ott, P. (2009) World and earth: Hannah Arendt and the Human Relationship to Nature. Ethics, Place & Environment: A Journal of Philosophy & Geography 12 (1): 1-16.

Ricoeur, P. (1983) Action, Story and History: On Re-reading The Human Condition. Salmagundi 60: 60-72.

Stehr, N., & Machin, A. (2020) Society and Climate: Transformations and Challenges. Singapore: World Scientific.

Viitteet    (↵ palaa tekstiin)
  1. See the reports by Beijing Newsroom & Munroe, T. (2021) and Eddy, M. (2021).  

  2. “The Climate Crisis – A Race We Can Win” on the United Nations website.

  3. Hulme 2015, 894.

  4. Stehr & Machin 2020, 12.

  5. Jonas 1984, 23.

  6. With respect to the thinkers discussed in this essay, Arendt and Jonas are influenced by Kant, and both belong to the generation of philosophers whose thinking was conditioned by the experience of World War II, including genocide and the atomic bomb. As a contemporary scholar, Chakrabarty is the reader and interpreter of Kant, Arendt, and Jonas. This genealogy is the reason why there can be dialogues and dynamics between their theories.

  7. Kant 2006, 82.

  8. Kant 2006, 88.

  9. Arendt 1998, 5.

  10. Arendt 1998, 2.

  11. Chapman 2007, 436.

  12. Macready 2019.

  13. Arendt 1998, 9.

  14. Arendt 1998, 10.

  15. Ricoeur 1983, 62.

  16. Ott 2009, 13.

  17. Arendt 1987, 42.

  18. Arendt 1998, 12.

  19. Arendt 1998, 188.

  20. Arendt 2006, 298.

  21. I argue that the historical continuum should be interpreted not only as extending from the past to the present, but also as extending from the present to the future. This means that contemporary beings have an obligation to think about what they will pass on to the next generation, such as the natural environment and other living conditions.

  22. Jonas 1984, 130.

  23. Jonas 1984, 134.

  24. Jonas 1984, 135.

  25. Jonas 1984, 102.

  26. Chakrabarty 2021, 49.

  27. In Chapter 2, Chakrabarty quotes Byran Lovell to give an example: fossil fuels, often considered non-renewable resources, will actually be abundant on Earth in two hundred million years. He shows that when the time scale changes, some crucial conclusions about the Earth system can change as well.

  28. Chakrabarty 2021, 30.

  29. In chapter 4, for example, Chakrabarty cites the discourses of Jawaharlal Nehru, the former prime minister of India, to outline the tension between developed countries and the Third World when it comes to collective responsibility in climate protection. In the glorious narratives of saving the earth together by sacrificing the self-interest of development, the voice of developing countries should not be ignored.

  30. Kattago 2023, 7.

  31. Chakrabarty 2021, 137.