Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4

Can a pandemic stop or slow the Anthropocene?

Marek Więckowski

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 475-494 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0183

Abstract

The entire Earth system consists of fully dynamic conditions. Humankind’s manifold large and small influences on the planet are now very well-documented. Changes are now so vast, their traces so significant, that we have come to term this as if it was genuinely a new Epoch in that history – as the Anthropocene. Recently, however,the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how an ostensibly small event at a single locality can take just a few weeks or months to change the world, and in some real sense to stop it. The author in this article in particular seeks to inject a further dose of far-reaching reflection on our pandemic, its influence on life on Earth, and its possible future consequences. Ultimately, then, it seeks an answer for a key question – as to whether COVID-19 is really in a position to stop, or at least slow, the runaway Anthropocene.With a view to encouraging reflectionon humankind’s potentially reduced impact on the planet the Author suggests priority areas of study in the near future.

Keywords: Geography, Anthropocene, pandemic, COVID-19, IGU, globalisation

Marek Więckowski [marekw@twarda.pan.pl], Instytut Geografii i Przestrzennego Zagospodarowania im. S. Leszczyckiego PAN