Children in The Symbiocene


Many young men and women of childbearing age ask if it is reasonable to have children with a such bleak future unfolding via climate calescence, ecosystem distress, nuclear fallout, plastic pollution, species extinction and a myriad of other Earth insults.

My answer is that if we do nothing to bring about the end of the obscenities of the Anthropocene, then the having of children will a hugely negative moral issue. If we can clearly see the collapse of human society within cascades of tierracide, then not having children makes practical and moral sense.

However, if we reject the Anthropocene and enter the Symbiocene, it is urgent that we have replacement-level Symbiocene babies and Symbiocene children to take us into the next adult generation. The parents of Symbiocene babies will be transitioning into a form of human existence that is harmonious with the rest of life. Their children will then be fully committed this form of existence because their parents and education systems taught them how to live via ‘Sumbiology‘ or the discipline of understanding the interconnections in life … all of them. Symbiocene children will think differently! They will value life above all else. They will see their own life as intimately connected to all other life.

As they mature, Symbiocene children will be the artists, designers, architects, engineers, chefs, builders, technicians, farmers and trades-people etc of The Symbiocene. So, parents who can already see a bad future for their children unless change takes place, are under an obligation to put their children into a much better place. Their love of the child must be also be expressed as sumbiophilia. They must do everything in their power to show their children how to live sumbiosically. Rational people now contemplating the having of children are under an obligation to have Symbiocene babies … it is their duty to the future. Symbiocene babies will be happy as larks … they will mature into beautiful Symbiocene adults.

(Lyra, my granddaughter, playing a harp)

About glennaalbrecht

Farmosopher at The Wallaby Farm, NSW: Glenn Albrecht retired as professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia in June 2014. He is now an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney. He was at the University of Newcastle as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies until December 2008. He is an environmental philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health, broadly defined. He pioneered the research domain of 'psychoterratic' or earth related mental health and emotional conditions with his concept of 'solastalgia' or the lived experience of negative environmental change. Solastalgia has become accepted worldwide as a key concept in understanding the impact of environmental change in academic, creative arts, social impact assessment and legal contexts. Glenn Albrecht’s work is now being used extensively in course readings, new research theses and academic research in many disciplines including geography and environmental studies. His work is also being published in languages other than English. He has publications in the field of animal ethics and has published on the ethics of relocating endangered species in the face of climate change pressures and the ethics of the thoroughbred horse industry worldwide. With Professor Phillip McManus (Sydney University) he has completed a book which was published in 2012 by Routledge on the thoroughbred industry. He also published with Professor McManus on the newly emerging domain of ‘psychoterratic geographies’ (McManus and Albrecht 2013). With colleagues, Nick Higginbotham (University of Newcastle) and Linda Connor (Sydney University) under Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants, he has researched the impact of mining in the Upper Hunter Region of NSW, Australia and the impact of climate change on communities, again in the Hunter Region. He has researched the impact of gas fracking and coal mining on people and communities in the Gloucester region of NSW. Glenn has also been involved as a Chief Investigator in an ARC Discovery Grant Project on the social and ethical aspects of the thoroughbred horse industry worldwide and was a partner investigator on ARC Linkage Grant funded research on the ethics of feral buffalo control in Arnhem Land. He has held an NCCARF grant at Murdoch University to study the likely impact of climate change on water provision in two inland cities (Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie). Glenn Albrecht is also a pioneer of transdisciplinary thinking and, with Higginbotham and Connor, produced a major book on this topic, Health Social Science: A Transdisciplinary and Complexity Perspective with Oxford University Press in 2001. His current major transdisciplinary research interest, the positive and negative psychological, emotional and cultural relationships people have to place and its transformation is one that sees him having a national and international research profile in an emergent field of academic inquiry where he has been recognised as a global pioneer. International citations to his academic works are now increasing annually and reference to his concept of solastalgia in global art and culture is now too extensive to fully document. Glenn now works as an independent academic based in the Hunter Region of NSW. He continues to research and publish in his chosen fields. He is a current grant assessor for Commonwealth Ministry of Arts grant applications and an Honorary Associate in the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney.
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