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Glacial Deaths, Geologic Extinction

Glacial Deaths, Geologic Extinction In 2019 several funerals were held for glaciers. If enough glaciers die, could they go extinct? Is there geologic extinction? Yes. This article develops three arguments to support this claim. The first revisits Georges Cuvier’s original argument for extinction and its reliance on geology, especially glaciers. Retracing connections to glaciers and the narrowing of extinction to biological species in the nineteenth century, the author argues that anthropogenic forcing on how the Earth system functions—the Anthropocene—warrants rethinking extinction geologically. The second argument examines the specificity of ice loss and multiple practices responding to this loss: from art exhibits at United Nations climate change meetings to anticolonial claims for the right to be cold. The third argument consolidates a theme built across the article regarding how Isabelle Stengers’s notion of ecologies of practices provides an approach to geologic extinction that recognizes both relational and nonrelational loss. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmental Humanities Duke University Press

Glacial Deaths, Geologic Extinction

Environmental Humanities , Volume 13 (2) – Nov 1, 2021

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Copyright
© 2021 Jeremy J. Schmidt
ISSN
2201-1919
eISSN
2201-1919
DOI
10.1215/22011919-9320156
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In 2019 several funerals were held for glaciers. If enough glaciers die, could they go extinct? Is there geologic extinction? Yes. This article develops three arguments to support this claim. The first revisits Georges Cuvier’s original argument for extinction and its reliance on geology, especially glaciers. Retracing connections to glaciers and the narrowing of extinction to biological species in the nineteenth century, the author argues that anthropogenic forcing on how the Earth system functions—the Anthropocene—warrants rethinking extinction geologically. The second argument examines the specificity of ice loss and multiple practices responding to this loss: from art exhibits at United Nations climate change meetings to anticolonial claims for the right to be cold. The third argument consolidates a theme built across the article regarding how Isabelle Stengers’s notion of ecologies of practices provides an approach to geologic extinction that recognizes both relational and nonrelational loss.

Journal

Environmental HumanitiesDuke University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2021

References