Ethics is scale dependent, both spatially and temporally. The prospect of entering a new geologic unit of time mandates a rethinking of environmental ethics. The Holocene and the Anthropocene are indistinguishable in the perspective of geologic time. Thus preserving the Holocene climate is the first imperative of an Anthropocenic environmental ethic. Global climate change ramifies many decades and centuries into the future. Its spatial and temporal scales require a correlative scaling up of moral agents from individuals to cooperating collectives, such as national governments, and moral patients from individuals to global human civilization, which is in imminent danger of wholesale collapse. An efficacious Anthropocenic environmental ethic therefore is anthropocentric and also engages the moral sentiments as well as reason.
Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene
Article published in Environmental Research Letters
Article published in Geoforum