Wednesday, 28th of February 2018
Marco Armiero is Director of the Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, where he is also Associate Professor of Environmental History. He is the author of A Rugged Nation. Mountains and the Making of Modern Italy (2011, translated into Italian in 2013) and co-editor of several volumes: A History of Environmentalism. Local Struggles, Global Histories (2014); An Environmental history of mass migration (2017); Future Remains. A cabinet of curiosities for the Anthropocene (2017); and Nature and History in Modern Italy (2010). He has published articles and edited special issues in Environment and History, Left History, Radical History Review, Modern Italy, Southern Atlantic Quarterly, Capitalism Nature Socialism, and the Journal of Political Ecology. He is a senior editor of Capitalism Nature Socialism and an associate editor of Environmental Humanities.
“Scientists have identified a new epoch, the Anthropocene (the Age of Humans), marked by a technostratigraphy of wasted matter, such as carbon sediments, radionuclides and microplastics, accumulating within the earth surface (Crutzen 2006). Waste can be considered the essence of the Anthropocene, embodying humans’ ability to affect the environment to the point of transforming it into a gigantic dump. For this reason I have argued that this new epoch might be called the Wasteocene (Armiero and De Angelis 2017). However, the Wasteocene frames waste not as an object – ‘waste’ – but as a relation – ‘wasting’. My hypothesis is that while wasting relationships are based on consuming and ‘othering’, that is, on sorting out what and who is waste -, commoning practices are based on reproducing resources and communities. Is it true that we live in the Wasteocene? And if yes, is there a way to escape from it? Or perhaps should we embrace it? Can we sabotage the Wasteocene? Where are the toxic stories of this age?
Marco Armiero, 2018