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Mobilizing the past to shape a better Anthropocene

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Boivin,  Nicole
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Crowther,  Alison
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Boivin, N., & Crowther, A. (2021). Mobilizing the past to shape a better Anthropocene. Nature Ecology & Evolution, s41559-020-01361-4. doi:10.1038/s41559-020-01361-4.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-D589-E
Abstract
As our planet emerges into a new epoch in which humans dominate the Earth system, it is imperative that societies initiate a new phase of responsible environmental stewardship. Here we argue that information from the past has a valuable role to play in enhancing the sustainability and resilience of our societies. We highlight the ways that past data can be mobilized for a variety of efforts, from supporting conservation to increasing agricultural sustainability and food security. At a practical level, solutions from the past often do not require fossil fuels, can be locally run and managed, and have been tested over the long term. Past failures reveal non-viable solutions and expose vulnerabilities. To more effectively leverage increasing knowledge about the past, we advocate greater cross-disciplinary collaboration, systematic engagement with stakeholders and policymakers, and approaches that bring together the best of the past with the cutting-edge technologies and solutions of tomorrow.