What will it mean to be human? Imagining our lives in the Anthropocene

Video Title
What will it mean to be human? Imagining our lives in the Anthropocene
The course of human evolution has forged in our species a fundamental resilience founded on modifying the surroundings. This aspect of human nature, evolved intimately in the dynamic natural world, has made Homo sapiens a global species proficient in reshaping nature by altering landscapes, resources, water, atmosphere -- and ourselves -- in unprecedented ways. The greatest challenge of the anthropogenic Earth is to redefine responsibilities and frameworks to live by. Each area across the sciences, history, arts, and culture can have an indispensable role in framing the central principles of life in the Anthropocene. The ongoing discovery of human origins provides an example. This talk begins to explore principles that may turn the distresses over unintended consequences into pragmatic, intended, and deeply meaningful future consequences. An evolving ethic of resilience aligned with present realities and with new moral responsibilities needs to replace an ethic based on preservation and imprecise standards of sustainability; discussion is likely to ensue as to why this transition will prove difficult. Learn more about the Smithsonian Human Origins Program at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC: http://humanorigins.si.edu
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1 hr 3 min 12 sec
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Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
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