Rings, Dance & Earwax: What Can Multispecies Data Teach Humans?

There has never been a more urgent time for humans to negotiate the Sixth Extinction (the acceleration of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss) with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (unprecedented techno-human development). With the survival of humans at risk and increasing violence on nonhuman beings, it is becoming more and more important to extend beyond the exceptionalism of humans and recognise the intelligence of the more-than-human world: plants, flora, fauna, animals, fungi and all creatures underground and in the deep sea. To care for all species, it is imperative that humans begin to bridge their relationship within the multispecies universe through affirmative relational ethics.

So then, how might multispecies studies provide a more rewarding vantage point for understanding humans as participants in entangled human and non-human relationships? This stance situates humans within a multi-species entanglement, with various ethical and political ramifications. The intersection of the Sixth Extinction and the Fourth Industrial Revolution is increasingly relevant as GIS and environmental sensing technologies can and do gather ‘big data’ on climate change, biodiversity loss, and exploitation of natural resources.

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This was published in the Opinion section of Sydney Environment Institute on 21 Sept 2020. This work is in collaboration with Kavita Gonsalves.