ELIZABETH SHERRATT

A cautionary tale from life in the Anthropocene:

 

Once upon a time on planet Earth during the Anthropocene, there lived a human called Alice her most important possession was a handset that made her constantly look down to search for answers on its illuminated screen. 

 

Alice like most humans once looked up to the heavens or to fellow humans, nature and science for inspiration now it is in the palm of her hand. Alice had no reason to go out and explore, gone was the urge to venture down rabbit holes because she could travel the world without leaving her couch. The all-powerful internet can connect humans anywhere. 

 

Alice starts to turn her back on real time in favour of the virtual world. The only Nonhuman Animals that are important to her are companion species, which humans like because they can be controlled and humanised. Alice prefers to watch so called ‘wild animals’, from behind the safety of a screen, so that she can, pause, rewind and delete them at her leisure. Humans have a history of doing this.

 

Humans like Alice used to have a close relationship with their environment and contact with Nonhuman Animals was an integral part of how they lived. Now looking at cat memes is the closest Alice gets to interacting with Nonhuman Animals. They look cute and don’t bite or scratch. This is what the humans of the Anthropocene like.

 

Mother Earth has a good sense of humour. Alice and her cousins are mirroring the behaviour of Nonhuman Animals with the increased use of new technologies. Visual language dominates, just tap and swipe that screen, Cartesian thought has had its day. Alice objects as humans regard themselves as superior to Nonhuman Animals.

 

The Anthropocene challenges both humans and Nonhuman Animals. But Nonhuman Animals have adapted through the evolutionary process to live in a state of flux - living alongside humans they have no other option. Human Animals are new to living and navigating an ever- changing environment. Alice should step outside, look away from her handset, to locate the real Wonderland. She needs to learn from Nonhuman Animals. 

Nonhuman Animals can teach Human Animals how to survive other Human Animals.