Description“We no longer live in a natural world – there is virtually no part of the environment that we left unchanged” – NERC, ‘Our Vision’
In contrast to NERC’s vision, a disconnect exists between the perception of people outside of sub-Saharan Africa - of open peopleless savannahs populated with the ‘Big Five Game Animals’ - and the diverse reality. To perceive the environment as separate from the people who live there perpetuates a lack of effective engagement with broader environmental issues and future grand challenges facing the world. The potential ripple effects of environmental change and population growth in Africa will increasingly be felt locally on livelihoods and globally in terms of food security and economic instability. The globally ratified Paris Agreement (COP21) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals demand engagement by an informed civil society if the goals are to be fulfilled: therefore resolving this disconnect is paramount.
The environmental humanities seeks to bridge disciplinary divides and the separation between humanity and nature, it can potentially provide a pivotal role in bringing together disparate data and insights to inform a common counternarrative to what currently exists around a notion of ‘Africa’. This paper explores how we can present and use insights from archaeological and palaeoecological projects in eastern Africa, in a public arena, to begin to challenge these current perceptions. This directly addresses Hutching’s (2014, 214) call ‘to move beyond ecocriticism to ecoaction…actively spreading counternarratives’.
Hutchings, R. 2014. ‘Understanding of and Vision for the Environmental Humanities’, Environmental Humanities 4:213-220
|19 Dec 2016
|Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG)
|Southampton, United Kingdom