Frame, B. & Cradock-Henry, N.A. 2022. Views from nowhere, somewhere and everywhere else: The tragedy of the horizon in the early Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review, February 2022. doi:10.1177/20530196211059199
The ability to anticipate, plan for and adapt to the changes of the early Anthropocene is limited by human behaviour, political inertia, and short-termism. This ‘tragedy of the horizon’ is explored through three specific lenses on early Anthropocene futures. We begin with the dominant scientific evidence: mathematical and probabilistic modelling synthesised into increasingly rigorous and sophisticated scenarios for assessing policy options and broadening societal understanding. We then draw on the set of values, institutions, laws, and symbols through which people imagine their social whole in what Sheila Jasanoff describes as 'sociotechnical imaginaries'. We also draw on institutional epistemologies as reflected in two global assessment initiatives: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been described as a ‘view from nowhere’, and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a ‘view from everywhere’, though analysis has concluded that both organisations merely offer ‘views from somewhere’. We then present examples of other early Anthropocene imaginaries from writers, activists, and philosophers. The arc through these suggests both common themes and broad variation in underlying assumptions and world views. We argue that, especially in a post-truth world, a much richer form of (re)visioning the future is required in a project that must span far beyond the biophysical and include the full breadth of the social sciences and humanities. Without the inclusion of multiple underlying, competing, and creative long-term perspectives, society in general, and research in particular, may not adequately illuminate the complex possible future trajectories.