At the World Economic Forum meeting in January 2019, 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg told the wealthy and influential people assembled that she didn’t want their hope; she wanted them "to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is".

In the face of climate change – one unprecedented predicament of the Anthropocene – Andrea Gaynor’s acts of "radical remembering" call for the recognition that so-called environmental problems are actually social and cultural problems. We need "armoured histories", she argues, that hold wrongdoers to account, provide ethical blueprints for leaders and make untenable further violations against the environment and its human inhabitants.

Burning house
Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash Image: Stephen Radford
© Stephen Radford

The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of human domination over the earth system. Its history, as we have been taught it, has been written by the victors of war, the captains of industry, the successful colonisers. We need to review its history, argues Gaynor, and activate that knowledge to navigate both our environmental and social dilemmas..

6pm: Welcome drink and refreshments

6.30pm: Talk and Q&A

Location change: Due to building works at the Australian Museum, the location of this talk is now the Anzac Memorial Auditorium, Hyde Park south. Enter via main entrance on Liverpool Street.

Andrea Gaynor
Andrea Gaynor portrait Image: Not specified
© Andrea Gaynor

Andrea Gaynor

Environmental historian Andrea Gaynor, is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the History Discipline Group at the University of Western Australia. A 2019 National Library of Australia Fellow, Gaynor is Director of the Centre for Western Australian History, convenor of the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network and a member of The Beeliar Group: Professors for Environmental Responsibility. Gaynor’s research, which seeks to harness the contextualising and narrative power of history to address real-world problems, is currently engaged in histories of water in Australian urbanisation, nature in Australian urban modernity and landcare in Western Australia. She has worked with diverse organisations including the Western Australian Department of Parks & Wildlife, Western Power and WWF-Australia, and is the co-author of an environmental history of Australia’s Mallee country (2019) and co-editor of Reclaiming the Urban Commons: The past, present and future of food growing in Australian towns and cities (2018).

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Advance bookings essential. Cash-only tickets available at the door, subject to availability.

Due to building works at the Australian Museum, the location of this talk is now the Anzac War Memorial Theatre, Hyde Park south. Enter via main entrance on Liverpool Street.

What is the HumanNature Series?

In this landmark series of talks, we are proud to host a stellar line up of leading Australian and international scholars. They will share with us their insights from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology and art to examine the significant interplay between the humanities and the environmental crisis we face today, including climate change, biodiversity loss and a wide range of other issues.

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