Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date



Denoting our current age as the Anthropocene, or the era of planet-wide human impact, scales up human agency beyond the usual biological capacity of all living things to alter their surroundings to a geological force. Human activities have altered vast areas of the Earth's terrestrial surfaces, spread industrial particulates across the globe, and impacted the planetary climate with increased release of carbon dioxide that then increases oceanic acidity bleaching entire coral reefs. The biosphere's land, air, and water have all changed with the increased release and use of energy. Once again, a species of living things has become a large-scale force on planet Earth, as did cyanobacteria during the Archaean and Proterozoic eras and as plants did when they conquered terrestrial spaces, covering much of our world in green. This time, however, a thinking species with a new level of technological intelligence is envisioning and enacting these changes. Hence environmental studies must attend to the human cultural imagination in order to understand what we have been thinking or not thinking, why, and what we might think (and attempt) in the future.

Document Object Identifier (DOI)



Caroline Schaumann & Heather I. Sullivan


Palgrave Macmillan


New York



Publication Information

German Ecocriticism in the Anthropocene