Anthropocene Research Group

One of the most urgent issues in the world is undoubtedly the current climate crisis. The greenhouse gases created by fossil fuel consumption and industrial agriculture are rapidly changing the stable climate of the world for the last 12 thousand years, creating an ecological crisis whose negative effects we have already experienced with the warming of the atmosphere and sea water. Therefore, whether we will cause a human-induced mass extinction on the planet and whether human societies will have a prosperous and peaceful future depends on the attitude we will take in the face of this crisis and the scientific solutions we will implement.


The concept of "Anthropocene", which was first introduced by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Krutzen in 2000, aimed to underline that the world's climate is no longer a mere geological or ecological movement, and that the main actor behind sudden climate changes is human. For this reason, the term using the Ancient Greek concept of “anthropos” meaning “human” emphasizes a new geological age in which human-induced climatic events occur with a reference to the the moral, conscientious and political responsibility it creates on humanity.


Exactly when the Anthropocene began is controversial. Some researchers are of the opinion that it started in the Neolithic Period, when the first plants and animals were domesticated, agriculture began and villages were established, that is, approximately 10 thousand years ago, in Southwest Asia, including Turkey. Others argue that it started in 1784, when the steam engine, a symbol of the Industrial Revolution, was invented in England. Both views treat the Anthropocene with more than just a subject describing geological stratigraphy or a new climatic period. All scientists express a negative transformation of the atmospheric, ecological and climatic balance of the Anthropocene, which is familiar from the Holocene Period, to the warming of the planet and threatening the living life in an unavoidable way due to industrial human activities. admits that.


The fact that all this urgency and issue is multifaceted, multi-actor, multi-variable with many unknowns shows that scientific institutions cannot approach the climate crisis with traditional research structures. The Anthropocene can be defined as an umbrella research area that concerns all branches of science and on which all of them should collectively produce theory, method, knowledge, data and vision. There is a necessity for transdisciplinary and transnational work to explore the Anthropocene and to develop solutions to today's ecological, social, economic and political problems. The fact that modern universities are structured as separate units on the basis of traditional faculties and departments, excessive specialization in sciences, and the changing approaches, understanding and interests of different branches to climate-related issues prevent collective research and development of innovative solutions even on such an urgent issue related to human and living life.


Ege University Anthropocene Research Group consists of researchers from different branches, each of whom have come together to produce ideas, solutions and studies for a common scientific purpose. The main objective of the research group is to analyze the ecological crisis with its social, political, cultural and historical dimensions; to carry out scientific production and activities for the solution of the crisis together with earth, science and engineering sciences such as geology, biology, environmental sciences, climatology and in direct partnership with these sciences.


To analyze the Anthropocene and its effects, it is not enough to look at today's measurable ecological values. The emergence of the Anthropocene, that is, the historical and social processes from prehistoric times to modernity, needs to be addressed and re-evaluated with non-anthropocentric paradigms. The role of the sciences of history, archaeology and anthropology in anthropocene research is increasingly emerging, and our understanding of the deep history of ecological transformation and human-environment relations is developing through paleoclimate and paleoecological studies. Investigating the anthropogenic effects of humans on the environment during the periods when humans were hunter-gatherers can guide us in the political attitudes and decisions we will take today, or considering the domination and power relationship established by humans on natural assets since the Neolithic Period in the context of agriculture and livestock management, we can inform today's human-environment-ecology relations. All these historical cases can be instructive in re-establishing relationships with the various contemporary ecological actors.


On the other hand, the Anthropocene is also the result of a way of thinking. The dominant place of the anthropocentric, nature-objectifying, consumption-based and profit-oriented capitalist thought, especially in modern Western thought, and the intense influence it has had until today, and the fact that this way of thinking has spread to all parts of the world in one way or another with globalization is another important issue that needs to be emphasized.

The climate crisis we experience, which requires a change in human behavior based on consumption and waste production, also forces people to radically change how they think about nature and the environment. New forms of philosophical thought fed from geological, astronomical and evolutionary biological perspectives offer an important opportunity for the solution of today's crisis. Getting rid of the anthropocentric, that is, modern thought, which places humans (specifically men) in the center of the universe and assigns him a privileged position, will play an important role in changing our problems related to the Anthropocene and the behavioral patterns that make it sustainable. Object-oriented ontologies or ontological symmetry, which have become popular recently in philosophical movements, are designed to answer the ecological and social crisis of the Anthropocene. One pillar of our research group is the critical analysis of the philosophical and theoretical forms of thought that created and sustained the Anthropocene.


The Anthropocene is a humanitarian crisis as well as an ecological crisis. This crisis makes its negative effects visible in a wide range of events such as natural disaster, famine, migration, drought, war and pandemic. This situation, which affects all of humanity, creates effects that can lead to death, especially for disadvantaged communities. It is a fact that events such as poverty, migration, war, disease, hunger and death due to the climate crisis have increased more. Located in the Mediterranean latitudes, Turkey is unfortunately already among the countries where famine and drought, as well as deforestation and erosion are most common. Our country is also one of the important routes of ecological migration due to climate and mass migration based on poverty and famine. Therefore, the Anthropocene is fundamentally a social and political issue. It urgently requires the development of climate policies that prioritize social justice and peace, and the shifting of public resources to this sector. The policies we will develop over the next hundred years will fundamentally affect not only the ecology of the planet but also the course of social and economic life. One of the aims of the working group is to draw attention to these problems created by the Anthropocene and to make concrete suggestions for social policy and legal legislation that can be developed in Turkey.