Ethics of the Anthropocene

March 5th, 2020

IVM and the Faculty of Religion and Theology announce Pim Martens as 2020 Senior Fellow in the Ethics of the Anthropocene

See also here

Professor Pim Martens from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, has been appointed as Senior Fellow in the Ethics of the Anthropocene Program for 2020. Pim Martens holds the Chair Sustainable Development at the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht University. Professor Martens’s project will focus on religion and animals in the Anthropocene. His term at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will run from March to December 2020.

The Ethics of the Anthropocene Fellowship is a collaborative initiative of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) and the Faculty of Theology. It is intended to foster research projects at the interface of ethics, religion and global environmental change. Annual fellowships are awarded alternately to an established Senior scholar and to two or three promising PhD candidates who are in the process of specializing in this burgeoning field.

About the Fellowship
The novel concept of an ‘Anthropocene’ has been proposed to denote the present epoch in planetary history, following up the earlier Holocene, as a new geological era now largely defined by the extent and direction of human activities with a profound global impact on the earth’s ecosystems. Importantly, the concept of an ‘Anthropocene’ places humankind fully at the centre of planetary evolution, as the main driving force on planet earth. These conceptual developments, however, raise fundamental normative questions with profound relevance for religion and ethics and for the principles that will guide the governance of the earth system. To study these important questions, VU Amsterdam has installed a special programme for senior and junior researchers, the VU Fellowship in the Ethics of the Anthropocene.

About the 2020 project: Religion and animals in the Anthropocene
Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with our natural environment and the animals within has changed dramatically over time. This fellowship will explore pathways to investigate religious orientation, ethical ideologies and their relation toward animal attitudes. Furthermore, by learning from indigenous cultures we can start to see out of which changes our mechanistic worldviews emerged. The fellowship might even go one step further – with a sufficiently open definition of religion – and include the study of proto-religions or ritual behaviour in animals as well.

About the Fellow
Pim Martens has a PhD in applied mathematics and holds the chair ‘Sustainable Development’ at Maastricht University. Prof. Martens is a project leader and principal investigator of several projects related to sustainable development and sustainability science in the context of e.g. human-animal relationships, climate change and health, and co-chairs the interfaculty and interdisciplinary UM Platform on Human and Non-Human Relations, and Interactions (HARI). Dr Martens has been a research professor at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Leverhulme professor at Aberystwyth University, Wales, and visiting scholar at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), Harvard University (USA), Heidelberg University, (Germany), ETH Zürich (Switzerland), Aberystwyth University (Wales), and Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany). Finally, Pim Martens is founder of AnimalWise, a ‘think and do tank’ integrating scientific knowledge and animal advocacy to bring about sustainable change in our relationship with animals.

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