Marsh Fest III? The Anthropocene and the Need for a Next Stocktaking of the Human-Environment Relationship

Authors: Thomas Larsen*, University of Northern Iowa, John Harrington, Jr., Independent Scholar
Topics: Anthropocene, Global Change, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Marsh, Sauer, human-environment, Glacken, human impact, political ecology, cultural ecology, Anthropocene, geographic thought
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 27
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Geography’s reputation as a leader in interdisciplinary synthesis was advanced through two stocktakings: "Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth" (William Thomas, Jr. and colleagues, 1956) and "The Earth as Transformed by Human Action" (B.L. Turner II and colleagues, 1990). Building upon the ideas of George Perkins Marsh, these symposia and publications reflect the primacy of geographers in leading the compiling and making sense of global issues at the interface between humans and the environment. A lot has changed since the last ‘Marsh Fest’ tome was published in 1990, with the emergence of big ideas like the Anthropocene and planetary boundaries. What big questions would a next stocktaking address in characterizing the changing human-environment relationship? To address this idea, we make the case for Marsh Fest III, suggest possible unifying themes, explore different modes of communicating findings, present possible deliverables, and identify potential sources of funding. Through this paper, we wish to advance the conversation and advocate for a major synthesis that will reinforce geography’s role in addressing human-environment conditions.

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