The UN in the Urban Anthropocene

Today, we live in the ‘Urban Anthropocene’. This designation combines the global trend towards urbanization and the term ‘Anthropocene’, which many ecologists are beginning to use to describe the current geologic age in which Homo sapiens have become the key structuring species that could determine, alone, the fate of Earth’s life forms.

For better or worse, it has become clear that the way this strange species grows in number, and accelerates the cycles of nature to serve its own needs, will define whether the planet will evolve towards greater diversity and relative stability (a recurrent association in past human history), or towards significant loss of ecological balance (quite well-defined scientifically) and biodiversity as has happened a few times over the last 4 billion years.

Likewise, an ecologist would agree that this species is highly gregarious and, since 2007, its majority concentrates in sprawling and increasingly vertical settlements. These settlements consume natural goods and services such as food, water, temperature regulation and many others brought from increasingly distant places through the use of fossil fuels. However, urban agglomerations also foster innovation and creativity and can lead to economies of scale at an unprecedented level. The future of the Earth is defined by the future of urban settlements. Thus, what is the best way to try to govern the Urban Anthropocene? Is the present structure of the United Nations (UN) up to the task of helping its peoples in the governance challenges we face in the years ahead?

The UN in the Urban Anthropocene

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