Round Table "Thinking the Anthropocene"

© Flickr / Gutter

As part of the celebrations of World Philosophy Day in 2013, placed this year under the theme “Inclusive Societies, Sustainable Planet”, a round table on “Thinking the Anthropocene” will be held at UNESCO Heaquarters, Paris, on 26 November 2013, from 4.15 to 6 pm.

This round table, which echoes the main themes of the 2013 World Science Forum “Science for Global Sustainable Development” (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 24-27 November 2013) and of the “2013 World Social Science Report - Changing Global Environments”, published on 15 November 2013, will discuss, from the philosophical and ethical perspective, the new role of human beings as a force of nature which has pushed the Earth into a new geological era, referred to by scientists as “Anthropocene”.


• Clive Hamilton, an Australian academic and Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), Vice-Chancellor's Chair in Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University, member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government, and Founder and former Executive Director of the Australia Institute;

• Christophe Bonneuil, historian at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research, CNRS) and at the Centre Alexandre Koyré, head of the "Anthropocene" collection in the Editions du Seuil;

• Grégory Quenet, French historian and Philosopher at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines;

• John Crowley, Team Leader for Global Environmental Change, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO.

Since the thermo-industrial revolution, our world has shifted to a unique state. What happens to us is not an environmental crisis but a geological revolution of human origin. Probably the best-known aspect of humanity’s newfound influence is climate change. However, this is only one aspect of the numerous ways in which human activities are affecting the planet.

The Anthropocene is also supported by increasing evidence of human influence on natural global processes, such as traces of our urban age, land occupation and transformation; water course deviation and water reserve appropriation; massive extinction and the introduction of invasive species; the development and widespread use of previously non-existent chemical substances (eg. plastics and persistent organic pollutants), etc.

The participants of the round table will try to understand how humanity brought on the Anthropocene and whether the present level of environmental awareness is sufficient to push societies towards green economies, changed lifestyles and behaviour to achieve the transition towards sustainable development and to prevent the collapse of ecosystems, causing human extinction.

To take part in the events held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, in the framework of the 2013 World Philosophy Day, please sign up at


Type of Event Category 8-Symposium
Start 26.11.2013 15:15 local time
End 26.11.2013 17:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Crowley, John
Organizer SHS
Contact Irina Zoubenko-Laplante;
Country France
City Paris
Venue UNESCO Headquarters
Street 125, avenue de Suffren
Room Room II
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English, French
Estimated number of participants 100
Official Website World Philosophy Day 2013
Link 1 "Adapting in the Anthropocene" - A UNESCO/COAL Exhibition
Link 2 Philosophy at UNESCO
Link 3 UNESCO and Global Environmental Change
Link 4 2013 World Phylosophy Day Programme