The idea that individual- or local-scale actions can combine to have global effects and relevance is of course not limited to the natural sciences. Slogans such as “think globally, act locally” have been used for many years in an effort to encourage individuals and locally anchored movements to see their place – and their actions – as part of a broader effort. What the message embedded in the term Anthropocene highlights, however, is the fact that a multitude of individuals acting locally influences global conditions whether or not we “think” globally.

Nowhere is this more true than with climate change. In the Arctic, the consequences of climate change are more visible, yet the links between action and consequences appear more distant, and this illustrates a key challenge. Local action has often been pursued in the shadow of the global negotiations, yet many of the most important breakthroughs currently being made are arguably being accomplished at the local and regional levels.

This is in fact the silver lining in that dark cloud surrounding the Anthropocene. It points to the critical importance of local level action on climate change, both from a governance perspective and for improving underlying the socio-technical conditions that influence what is possible in global efforts.

Read the article (external link to journal – open access)