Communicating Ethics in the Anthropocene: Video assignments (by Aditya Jain & Carly Steben)

The Fall 2017 student-led seminar Ethics and Cosmology for a Mutually Enhancing Human-Earth Relationship allowed students to reflect on the role of Ethics in the Anthropocene (the syllabus is available here). Students were encouraged to adopt creative formats for their final assignments, and here we share with you the video assignments created by Aditya Jain and Carly Steben.

  • Natural Resources: An ethical consideration to help abate climate change – by Aditya Jain

There’s an urgent need to recognize the importance of natural resources for their intangible worth towards the human society. There is a wealth of information available on the current climate change crisis and possible mitigation measures. However, anyone barely talks about the fundamental approach that needs to be adopted to preserve them for intergenerational existence in perpetuity. This video represents a different perspective on ethical consideration towards natural resources and how acknowledging the rights of natural resources and respecting their space could be the way forward.


  • Paralleling Worldviews on Creative Expression: Exploration of mimetic empathy and contemporary animism through performance and dance – by Carly Steben

My film is a personal interpretation and representation of an exercise described as performing the animate universe (Taiwo, 2013). The overall goal of the exercise is to get participants to recognize themselves as human animals, and the improvisational performance that is the universe itself. Taiwo (2013) describes the significance of expressive movement and dance as follows: “Being born, existing and dying are all part of a performed event, which started with the Big Bang, evolved into stars, the incubators of the more complex elements, and ultimately resulting in our existence and becoming.”

What does this all have to do with ethics for the Anthropocene? What would this concept of animism or the act of performance and creativity do for ethics in the Anthropocene? What we see today is a fundamental disconnect from wilderness, nature, the environment. We attempt to control and manipulate instead of engaging or living in harmony with it. What these dances, performances and workshops do is bring us closer to this inherent connection to nature that all human animals have. Through this neuro-psycho-physical expression, we connect our bodies, minds and souls to our surrounding environment. “I sense, I feel and I move, therefore I am” (The Handbook of Contemporary Animism”).

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